Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 01 March, 2007

Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason children whose parents have residency status must pay for third level education even though both parents work here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8206/07]

  Ms Hanafin: Under the terms of my Department’s Free Fees Initiative the exchequer meets the tuition fees of full-time eligible students. The main conditions are that students must (a) be first-time undergraduates; (b) hold E.U. nationality; and (c) have been ordinarily resident in an E.U. Member State for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. Students with official refugee status in Ireland and who have three years residency in Ireland (from official date of lodgement of application for refugee status) may also be considered under the Free Fees Initiative.

The Non EU spouse and dependent children of an EU migrant worker resident in the State may also be considered for free fees once they meet the other criteria of the scheme. Eligibility is determined at date of entry to the course of study. The third level institutions are autonomous bodies and, as such, may determine the level of fees to be charged in any cases where the Free Fees Initiative does not apply.