Increase in Student Grant Income Limits

Batt O'Keeffe, TD, Minister for Education and Science, today provided details of the increased income limits for student maintenance grants, which will come into effect from the commencement of the 2008/09 academic year.

The Minister said, "These increases in the income limits will serve to ensure that students from families on low to middle incomes will continue to benefit from State support towards the living costs associated with participation in third-level education."

The income limits are being increased in line with movements in the average industrial wage for students in receipt of the standard rates of grant. The top limit for grant eligibility where there are less than four dependent children has been increased from €48,335 to €49,690, ensuring that over 56,000 students from households with moderate incomes will not have to pay the student service charge.

In addition, for some 13,000 students in receipt of the higher, special rate of maintenance grant, the annual income threshold is being substantially increased by 11.6% from €18,055 to €20,147 in line with the relevant social welfare comparators in order to ensure that students from families on the lowest incomes continue to qualify for maximum rates of grant.

In relation to the rates of maintenance grant, the Minister indicated that current rates would continue to apply up to the end of 2008. The Minister continued, " Increases in student grants will, in future, be considered as part of the annual Budget process in December each year and rates will become effective on a financial, rather than an academic year basis. Student grant rates from January 2009 will be considered in the context of the December Budget."