Wednesday 21 February 2018

Controversial report on means-testing student grants delayed

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn today cast doubt over whether the controversial report on changes to the means test for third-level student grants will be completed in time for the Budget.

He has faced opposition from Fine Gael TDs about the prospect of farmland and business premises being included for the first time next year in the means test.

Mr Quinn told the Dail today that he could not give a date for the completion of the final report, which had been expected to be released last month.

He said it would be released “hopefully this side of Christmas”. But Mr Quinn said that the changes to the student grants means test would be still be introduced in September next year as planned.

It came as around 15,000 farmers protested outside the Dail about possible cuts to the agriculture budget

His expert group is currently examining the inclusion of assets in the student grants means test – which is current based on income alone. It has supplied a draft report to Mr Quinn.

He told the Dail today the group was looking at whether households with a farm or a small business had income from their assets that could fund their children’s third-level education. But he said that the issue would be treated sensitively, with the aim of bringing more “equality” into the student grants system.

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