Tuesday 17 October 2017

Student grant row is fed by jealousy and loose pub talk

THE current controversy caused by Minister Ruairi Quinn's proposal to introduce an asset means test for the parents of students applying for third-level grants is of little surprise. And as usual, it is informed by lots of anecdotal evidence and none of the research that is needed to make a more informed decision.

The evidence, as offered by Minister Quinn, is that he is aware of a student with a grant whose parents have savings of €300,000. No doubt similar claims can be made on the basis of nothing else except a concoction of jealousy, be-grudgery and loose pub talk.

It would be useful if there was conclusive evidence that the current system is benefiting rich families at the expense of the poor. If – as the minister claims – it's about fairness, not farmers, then we could all start by examining closely those who benefit and those who do not.

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