Friday 23 August 2019

SUSI grant is not the only source of support

Student finance

Stock photo: Getty Images
Stock photo: Getty Images

Aoife Walsh

SUSI grants are the main source of financial support for those going to further and higher education and should be the first point of call for anyone who feels they may qualify for, or require financial support. It is still possible to make a SUSI grant application but there are other ways to help meet the cost of further study, which applicants may wish to explore:

Back to Education Allowance

The Back to Education Allowance covers the student contribution charge for all those who qualify. Those who are unemployed, parenting alone or receive a certain payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may qualify for this payment. In general, applicants should be over 21 years of age unless they are in a receipt of a disability payment.

Tax Relief

Families who pay student contributions for more than one student can claim tax relief at the rate of 20pc, for the second student, up to €7,000. More information can be found on revenue.ie

Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) provides financial assistance for students in higher education who experience financial difficulties whilst attending college. Students can apply to the SAF to help with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. The SAF is designed to provide a source of financial support for students in addition to a student grant. Applications should be made directly to the student services office of their college.

The SAF can be used to support expenses such as books and class materials, rent, heating and lighting bills, food, essential travel, childcare costs, and medical costs. Successful applicants may be required to provide receipts for these expenses. Students who are parenting alone are particularly encouraged to apply for this support. It is not available to PLC students.

Fund for Students with Disabilities

This fund is targeted at students with disabilities in full-time publicly-funded courses to ensure they have access to assistance, such as note-takers, and equipment they need. To access the fund, students should be registered on an approved course in higher or further education, have a verifiable disability, be resident in Ireland and have a verified need for specific supports to enable attendance on their chosen course.

Credit Unions

Many credit unions offer third-level scholarships and bursaries for their members. In some cases, successful candidates receive €1,500 a year for the duration of their course. The criteria for awarding of these bursaries vary between credit unions. In some, members are randomly selected while others base selection on academic achievement or need.

* Increasing numbers of higher education institutions offer Sanctuary Scholarships to refugees/asylum seekers, but application deadlines may have passed for this year.

Irish Independent

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