Student Support Scheme for Asylum Seekers

7 June, 2019

On 04 June 2019, the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. together with the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. have announced a grant support scheme for asylum seekers in third level education will continue for 2019/20.

The Pilot Student Support Scheme, which was introduced in 2015, will be open for prospective students who are in the broad international protection system.

The scheme provides supports in line with the current Student Grant Scheme to eligible school leavers who are in the international 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 2019 scheme will open for applications from 4 June 2019.

The scheme has been altered in light of a review which indicated that a requirement to have been in school in Ireland for at least five years was too restrictive.

The criteria has been reduced for 2019/20 applicants to three years education in the Irish school system. This is similar to the residency requirement of the statutory-based Student Grant Scheme operated by SUSI.

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);
  • Have obtained their Leaving Certificate;
  • Have been accepted on an approved post-leaving certificate course or an approved undergraduate course;
  • Have at least three academic years in the Irish school system by 31 August 2019; and
  • Have been part of an application for protection or leave to remain for a combined period of three years as at 31 August 2019. 

Minister McHugh said: “I am pleased to be in a position to announce the continuation of this pilot scheme. We are opening the scheme in June to provide adequate time for prospective eligible applicants to apply and receive their supports in time for the start of the academic year. I encourage everyone who fulfils the criteria and is considering continuing their education to apply and gain the support they may need to access new opportunities for their future.” 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “Following a review of the scheme, I am delighted to be able to announce a change to the residency criterion. Easing the requirement from five years to three years brings the Pilot Student Support Scheme more into line with the SUSI grant scheme and makes it easier for applicants to meet the eligibility criteria.”

The decision to continue the scheme for a fifth year was taken following a review of the 2018 Pilot Support Scheme. A further review will be undertaken in 2020.

The closing date for 2019/20 applications is 1 November 2019.

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


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