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Crowe supports students’ High Court challenge to changes in Maintenance Grant Scheme

20 July, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe has commended the three students who have issued a High Court challenge to Government's decision to change the Maintenance Grant Scheme.

Speaking today Deputy Crowe said: “As part of Budget 2011, only students living a minimum of 45 kilometres from their college will be eligible for the ‘non-adjacent’ grant. This means that thousands of students who live between 24km and 45km from their place of education will have their grants slashed by 62%.

“The challenge brought before the High Court has been made on behalf of students attending various third-level colleges around the country and is supported by the Union of Students in Ireland.

“I understand they are attempting to quash the Minister’s decision to change the rules governing how far a student must live from college in order to receive a higher (non-adjacent) rate of grant payment. Sinn Féin supports their efforts to stop the Government implementing changes that would raise the current 24 kilometres threshold to 45 kilometres or more.

“This policy change is very unfair, particularly on students who have committed themselves and budgeted for courses over a number of years only to find that their grant has been cut by over 60%. I have had people ring me who are being forced to end their third level course because they can no longer afford their college fees. To make matters worse, there seems to be no way of appealing this rule or making a case for exemption.

“This change in policy is a direct attack on the rights’ of thousands of disadvantaged students around the country to access third level education.” ENDS

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