10 August, 2017 - Asylum Seekers to maintain Student Supports – Ministers Bruton and Mitchell O’Connor

Asylum Seekers to maintain Student Supports

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., together with the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today announced their intention to continue the Pilot Student Support Scheme for those in the protection system for 2017/18.

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 2017 scheme will open for applications on 10 August 2017.

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 2017; and
  • Have been part of an application for protection or leave to remain for a combined period of 5 years as at 31 August 2017.

Further information on how to apply, including the application form, is available on www.education.ie - Pilot Support Scheme

Minister Bruton said:

The Minister said that “It is my ambition to make Ireland the best education service in Europe by 2026. Key to this ambition is providing support to those who need it most. Currently, the government funds a total of approximately €450 million annually in access supports for students, this includes SUSI grants (which will benefit approximately 80,000 students in 2017), new maintenance grants for postgraduate students and supports for students with disabilities. I am pleased to be in a position to announce the continuation of this pilot scheme for a third year. The scheme provides a valuable opportunity to eligible students to develop to their full potential.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said:

“As Minister with special responsibility for Higher Education, I am delighted to be in a position to announce the continuation of this scheme for 2017/18. I would encourage all prospective students who may be eligible for support, to submit their applications; so that supports can be put in place early in the academic year.”

The decision to continue the scheme for a third year was taken following a review of the 2016 Pilot Support Scheme.

The closing date for applications is the 2nd of November 2017.


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 2017/18 academic year. It will be reviewed in 2018.