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‘Proposed increase in student earnings cap is a sensible and welcome move’ says local TD

SUSI Grant

A proposal to increase the holiday earnings income disregard that third level students can earn under the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) scheme is to be brought to the Cabinet.

So says Independent TD Carol Nolan who was responding to reporter that Minister for Higher and Further Education, Simon Harris, is to endorse the move.

If approved, the proposal would allow students to earn €6,552 without any negative impact on their grant rates or eligibility. The current cap is €4,500.

Deputy Nolan has consistently called for a rise in the student earnings cap, having mostly recently raised the issue with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in May during Leaders Questions.

The Taoiseach, in response to Deputy Nolan committed the Government to examine the possibility of raising the cap on holiday earnings.

“I am delighted that Minister Harris will bring a memo to Cabinet today to increase the student earnings cap. It must be supported and implemented without delay,” said Deputy Nolan.

“This is an issue that I have been engaging constructively and intensively on with the Department and the Minister for some time.

“Indeed, I made the need to radically increase the student earnings cap a central part of my submission to the Steering Group Review on Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) in March of 2021.

“The facts were always clear to me, given that the last time the holiday earnings cap was increased was back in 2016 when it rose from €3,809 to €4,500.

“Since that time students have faced, along with the majority of people, massive and unsustainable levels of rent hikes, travel expenses and food price increases.

“In May I also put it to the Taoiseach, that it is precisely the rigid inflexibility around student earnings that is creating difficulties around retention and the ability of students to successfully complete their courses.

“I also informed him that the cap has led to massive difficulties in our tourism and hospitality sectors in terms of being able to source student workers, because the students know that they can only work a certain number of hours and earn so much before they are effectively penalised through grant reductions or refusals.

“All of those points seem to have been heard and agreed with.

“I will await to see the final details of the proposed changes, but if what is reported is given the green light by Government then I will warmly welcome that as the first step toward further incremental increases over time,” Deputy Nolan concluded.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.