Department of Education and Skills
Part 5 of the Bill will address an issue which may arise in the event of a no-deal Brexit as the UK will no longer be a Member State of the EU. Currently eligible students studying in the UK and UK
nationals studying in the State, currently qualify for SUSI grants by virtue of the fact that the UK is a Member State of the EU.
Consistent with our commitment to provide for the rights and privileges of the Common Travel Area, the purpose of this part is to make sure that, even after the UK leaves the EU, these arrangements can continue to apply to eligible Irish students studying in the UK, as well as the payment of SUSI grants to UK students in Irish higher education institutions.
Each year, circa 1,500 students studying in the UK and circa 200 UK citizens studying in the State,
qualify for SUSI grant support. Without the proposed amendments, these students will not meet thecurrent statutory based eligibility criteria. The provisions in Part 5 will address this problem by
amending the Student Support Act 2011 to enable these students to continue to qualify for grant support post-Brexit.
Grant assistance for students participating in further and higher education is provided for under the Student Grant Scheme and Student Support Regulations which are published by the Minister under powers contained in the Student Support Act 2011. The student grant scheme administered by SUSI, provides grants to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means. A number of provisions contained within the Act and associated secondary legislation, will be affected by a no deal Brexit
Amendment of Student Support Act 2011
Head 1 – Amendment of Section 2 of the Principal Act (Interpretation)
Head 2 – Amendment of Section 7 of the Principal Act (Approved Institution)
Head 3 – Amendment of Section 8 of the Principal Act (Approved Course)
Head 4 – Amendment of Section 14 of the Principal Act (Student – Interpretation)
Head 5 – Commencement
Head 1- Amendment of Section 2 (Interpretation)
Head 1 defines the key terms used in the General Scheme.
There are a number of definitions which reference other provisions that may be subject to
amendment e.g. “approved course”, “approved institution”, “student” and “tuition student”. The
references required will be kept under review.
Head 2- Amendment of Section 7 (Approved institution)
Head 2 defines what an approved institution is for the purposes of the scheme.
Publicly funded higher education institutions in all extant Member States are recognised.
Amendments are required so that the UK as a third country is captured in the definition.
The reference to a Member State in this context would cover the possibility of funding from this
State for a college of course in a third country e.g. Northern Ireland.
Head 3- Amendment of Section 8 (Approved course)
Head 3 defines what an approved course is for the purposes of the scheme.
The Principal Act allows the Minister to prescribe a course in accordance with certain policies and
principles set out in the Act. With regard to the recognition of qualifications, these are limited to
recognition within the State or another Member State. An amendment is required to cover
arrangements, systems and procedures in the UK post-Brexit.
Head 4- Amendment of Section 14 (Student – interpretation)
Head 4 defines what an approved student is for the purposes of the scheme.
Section 14 defines what a student is for the purposes of the student grant scheme. UK nationals
meet the definition of a student under Section 14(1)(a)(i) of the Principal Act by virtue of its
membership of the EU. Post-Brexit, an amendment is required to this provision so that the UK as a third country is captured in the definition.
The student grant scheme contains a residency criterion which requires students to be resident in the State for 3 out of 5 years prior to commencing studies. Section 14(4)(b) recognises temporary residency in another Member State for study purposes. Post-Brexit, an amendment is required to section 14(4), so that the UK as a third country is captured in the residency criterion.
Under section 14(5), a person cannot “derive any benefit from a period of unlawful presence in the State”, when seeking to meet the residency criterion. Section 14(6) sets aside the question regarding unlawful presence if the person is an Irish citizen (section 14(6)(a)) or has benefits under the freedom of movement within the EU (section 14(6)(b)). Post-Brexit, an amendment is required to section 14(6) to cover the rights of UK nationals.
Head 5 – Commencement
Provide for the commencement of the Part on the lines of the following –
This Part shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister for Education and Skills may by order or orders appoint either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or provisions.