Tipperary Fianna Fáil Councillor John Hogan has once again called on the Education Minister to reconsider proposed changes to the third level grant system that will discriminate against hundreds farmers and self employed workers across Co Tipperary.
Minister Ruairí Quinn has confirmed to Fianna Fáil that plans to include capital assets in the means-testing for third level grants are at an advanced stage.Cllr Hogan has described it as a retrograde step that will put third level education out of the reach of hundreds of Tipperary families.
Cllr Hogan commented: “If it goes ahead, this policy will discriminate against hundreds of farming families and self employed workers in Tipperary who are on low incomes and are dependent on state support to send their children to college.
“The fairest way to assess eligibility for third level grants is based on income and not on the notional value of productive assets. There are so many families in Co Tipperary who have land or a business that is earning very little in the current climate, and their low income means they are struggling financially. Including their capital assets in the means-testing for grants will give an inflated impression of their earnings, and will put them in an extremely difficult situation when it comes to third level costs”.
“There is no doubt that this policy will put third level education out of the reach of many younger people from farming or self-employed backgrounds. The long-term economic and social effects of this for Tipperary and for rural Ireland are considerable. I am pleading with the Minister to reconsider before it’s too late.”