Anger over student grant proposals

Farmers have reacted angrily to proposed changes to the student grant means test which could yet include farm land in the eligibility calculation.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn is due to view a report by an education review group shortly, which will contain proposals for the inclusion of capital assets and income when assessing eligibility for the student grant.

“We are totally and utterly opposed to this,” said Gabriel Gilmartin, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association.

“If these changes are brought in, it would effectively discriminate against hard-working farming families wishing to send their children to third-level education.”

According to the National Farm Survey estimates, the 2011 average farmer income came to €24,861.

IFA president John Bryan said productive farm land cannot be viewed as an asset in the context of third-level maintenance grants, no more than a self-employed business owner’s equipment.

In response to a separate query from the ICMSA, Mr Quinn said any revisions to the eligibility test will focus on creating a more equitable system.

The minister said any proposals arising from the recommendations will require both Government agreement and legislative amendment.


Lifestyle

Cork author Conal Creedon tells Richard Fitzpatrick about some of his influences, from characters in his family’s shop to Ian Dury and Jim JarmuschCulture That Made Me: Conal Creedon on showbands, punk rock and playing the saw

A new thriller on Netflix is already causing a stir, and JK Rowling has set the internet alight with chapters of her fairytale, writes Des O’DriscollOnline Entertainment Tips: Snowpiercer, JK Rowling's new tale, and two films on Repeal

She's been sorting out Cork people for ages likeAsk Audrey: Normal People is basically a Maeve Binchy novel with mobile phones

Every evening, volunteers set out on bikes from Penny Dinners, delivering food and supplies to Cork’s homeless community. Donal O’Keeffe accompanied the Knight Riders on their rounds.Knight Riders bike around Cork city to deliver food to the homeless for Cork Penny Dinners

More From The Irish Examiner