Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD has said that Minister Ruairí Quinn is wrong to press ahead with proposals to include capital assets when means testing student grants in the 2013-2014 academic year.
Speaking today Deputy O’Brien said;
“The current means testing arrangements for third-level grants is based on income only but Education Minister Ruairí Quinn seems determined to change this criteria and include ‘certain capital assets’ when assessing student applications.
“His refusal to rule out assessing farmland and business premises is a serious cause for concern, particularly amongst rural communities and small business owners.
“Including capital and productive assets for student grant applications will unfairly penalise farmers, landowners and people who are self-employed.
“It would also be a further blow to rural Ireland as it will prevent many students from farming backgrounds from availing of grants to help pay of their third level education.
“Minister Quinn is failing to take into account a number of factors, including how farming incomes and related assets fluctuate on a monthly basis. His proposals would be yet another barrier to students from lower income backgrounds from pursuing their studies in higher education.”