The sun is shining today again, the Leaving Cert must be just around the corner – It’s SUSI time!!
Will they get the points? Will they get the course? And maybe just as important, will they get the grant?
Since 2012, Student Universal Support Ireland or SUSI as it is more commonly known is the single grant-awarding authority dealing with all new student grant applications. All new grant applications must now be made online through the SUSI system. While you do not need to know the exact course you will be attending in order to apply online, priority applications should be made by 13th July.
Maintenance grants can be worth up to €5,915 plus payment of registration fees depending on the circumstances of the parents so it is hugely important to get the application process correct. Additionally, most colleges charge an annual student contribution, formerly called the student services charge. It is also known as a registration fee and it covers student services and examinations. The amount of the contribution varies from one institution to another. The maximum rate of the student contribution for the academic year 2017-2018 is €3,000. Families who pay student contributions for more than one student in a year can also claim tax relief on the second and subsequent contributions.
The following is a broad outline of what is required to qualify for a student grant.
- You must satisfy a means test, the income limits for which vary depending on the number of children you have and if more than one of them is going to college (See appendix 1 for specific limits). Pretty much all sources of income are taken into account when calculating your gross income, with the exception of some forms of Social Welfare income.
- For anyone hoping to get a grant for the academic year 2017/2018, you must file your tax return declaring all sources of income for the year ended 31/12/2016.
- If you are solely a PAYE worker you will be issued with what is known as a P21 balancing statement
- If you are a self-employed individual or a company director you will be issued with a Notice of Assessment.
- Nationality and immigration status
You must be a National of an Irish, EU, EEA member state or Switzerland or have specific leave to remain in the State.
You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland for 3 of the last 5 years to qualify for a maintenance grant. If you were resident outside the State, it may affect the type of funding you could receive
- You must also be attending an approved course in an approved institution.
The information used to complete your tax return will be similar to the information required to complete your online SUSI application. Whilst the application process can initially appear overwhelming , the secret is to ensure that you have the correct information available at the outset.
What happens if you are over the income limits?
- While the rules for calculating means are very strict there is a sliding scale where you may qualify for a reduced grant if your income is at a certain level.
- You may also consider making a pension contribution which can be used to reduce your gross income for grant purposes.
- If your circumstances have clearly changed from 2016 you may have a case to use the new figures if they clearly show your current income and foreseeable income is below the relevant limits.
- While it may not be of benefit to you for the 2017/2018 academic year, if you are self-employed you may consider forming a limited company, your income then is not based on profits but on the Directors salary drawn from the company.
Last year, almost 1 in 4 grant applications were refused in Donegal*– were you one of those?
MLMG are now offering an all in package for PAYE workers to file their tax return and complete the SUSI application form for €399 inclusive of VAT (subject to all relevant information being provided)
Should you wish to avail of this service, please contact Rosemary on 07493 21420 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(* Source, SUSI Processing statistics 2014/2015)
Income limits for maintenance grant and full fee grant
The family income limits for eligibility for a maintenance grant in 2017-2018 are set out below. The income limits also apply to the fee grant (that is, if you don’t qualify for the free fees scheme and are eligible for a fee grant).
|Number of dependent children||Full maintenance||Part maintenance (75%)||Part maintenance (50%)||Part maintenance (25%)|
|Fewer than 4||€39,875||€40,970||€43,380||€45,790|
|4 to 7||€43,810||€45,025||€47,670||€50,325|
|8 or more||€47,575||€48,890||€51,760||€54,630|
Income limits for partial fee grant
The family income limits for eligibility for a partial fee grant in 2016-2017 are set out below.
|Number of dependent children||50% tuition fees and 100% student contribution||50% student contribution only|
|Fewer than 4||€49,840||€54,240|
|4 to 7||€54,765||€59,595|
|8 or more||€59,455||€64,700|
Other family members in college
The reckonable income limits may be increased as follows for each additional family member who is pursuing a full-time course of at least one year’s duration:
• In full maintenance and partial fee grant categories by €4,830
• In part maintenance 75%, 50% and 25% categories by €4,670
Changes in grant rates take effect in January each year.
Maintenance grant rates for 2016/2017
|Type||Non-adjacent rate||Adjacent rate|
|Part maintenance (75%)||€2,270||€910|
|Part maintenance (50%)||€1,515||€605|
|Part maintenance (25%)||€755||€305|