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Student grants must reflect true costs of living - Crowe

26 July, 2006

Speaking today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Seán Crowe TD welcomed the announcement by the Government of the agreement on student maintenance grants.

Deputy Crowe said, "While I welcome the government's decision and the increase in the grant for those students from the lowest income bracket, only a mere 1 or 2% will benefit from this higher 'top-up' grant as most of low income students only qualify for the 'ordinary' maintenance grant, and will suffer as their 3% grant rise is below the rate of inflation which is 4%.

"While welcoming this grant increase, inflation and general rising costs of living obviously seriously hamper students from low-income backgrounds in completing their studies if their grants do not match the rise in living costs. The educational grants system must be made more efficient and grants must reflect the true costs of living such as food, travel, fuel and rent, the latter having increased rapidly over the last decade. Accommodation costs now run at an average of €251 per month for the 62% of students living away from home.

"The four week delay in this agreement over grants by the government must be criticised; a delay which may result in further chaos as local authorities and VECs will be several weeks behind in processing grant applications. I call on the Minister for Education, in view of grant delays, to publicly assure students that there will be no excessive delay in the roll out of these grants." ENDS

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