03 June, 2016 - Supports for students in the protection system to continue – Minister Bruton

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, today (Friday) announced his decision to continue the Pilot Student Support Scheme for those in the protection system for 2016/17.

The Scheme, which was introduced in 2015, provides supports in line with the current Student Grant Scheme to eligible school leavers who are in the protection system (other than those at the deportation order stage) and who are either:

  • asylum applicants;
  • subsidiary protection applicants; or
  • leave to remain applicants.

The 2016 scheme will open for applications on 3rd June 2016, which is 3 months earlier than in 2015.

Applicants in the protection system who wish to be supported to pursue certain courses in further education or at undergraduate level in higher education will be required to meet the following criteria:

  • Meet the definition of a protection applicant or a person at leave to remain stage (other than those at the deportation order stage);
  • Obtained their Leaving Certificate;
  • Have been accepted on an approved Post Leaving Certificate course or an approved undergraduate course;
  • Have attended a minimum of five academic years in the Irish school system, as at 31 August 2016; and
  • Have been part of an application for protection or leave to remain for a combined period of 5 years as at 31 August 2016.

Further information on how to apply, including the application form, is available on Pilot Support Scheme

The Minister said that “I am pleased to be in a position to announce the continuation of this scheme for a second year. The scheme provides a valuable opportunity to eligible students to develop their personal, social and economic potential. The earlier opening time in 2016 will provide greater certainty to prospective applicants and should lead to earlier decisions and payment of grants to those qualifying for support.”

The decision to continue the scheme for a second year was taken following a review of the Pilot Support Scheme that first operated in 2015.

The closing date for applications is 4th November 2016.


The pilot support scheme for school leavers is targeted at students in or having come through the protection system. There are three categories of school leavers within this process. Two categories of students come under the protection process with a third category in the leave to remain process.  The three categories are as follows:

  • asylum applicants (protection process) – a person who has made an application for refugee status but where a determination has not been made
  • subsidiary protection applicants (protection process) – a person who has made an application for subsidiary protection but where a determination has not been made
  • leave to remain applicants – a person who has completed the protection process (i.e. asylum and/or subsidiary protection) and whose eligibility for leave to remain has yet to be considered 

The scheme will operate for the 2016/17 academic year. It will be reviewed in 2017.