Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, has confirmed that he is extending the list of services available to eligible third level students in the international protection system for 2021/2022.
Minister Harris said The Student Support Scheme currently provides supports to eligible school leavers who are in the international protection system (other than those at the deportation order stage) and who are either:
- Asylum applicants;
- Subsidiary protection applicants; or
- Leave to remain applicants.
However, in a statement issued today, Minister Harris said that following changes made last year, the 2021 scheme will now fund postgraduate studies for the first time with a maximum amount of €6,270 for fees and up to a maximum of €5,915 for maintenance support for eligible applicants.
The statement went on to say that the move to provide post-graduate funding for asylum seekers and those seeking refugee status follows on from the announcement in March 2021 that from the start of the 2021/22 academic year, international protection applicants who have permission to work and are seeking to access PLC courses will no longer have to pay international fees of €3,600.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Irish Refugee Council.
According to The Department of Further and Higher Education there have been 187 applications to the administrative Student Support Scheme since 2015 with 51 applicants qualifying for support.
A total of 108 applications were received under the Student Support Scheme in 2020 with 40 applicants qualifying for support.
This constituted a fivefold increase in the number of applications when compared to 2019.
The scheme will operate for the 2021/22 academic year and will be reviewed in 2022.