Finance: Who Qualifies For Student Grants?

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rsz_chris_murrayBy Chris Murray

As the Leaving Cert 2014 has now been completed we have noticed a large increase in calls from clients regarding the Higher Maintenance Grant, especially relating to the information required relating to PAYE and self employed persons income.

From the academic year 2012/2013, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), was nominated as the single national grant-awarding authority for all new student grant applications.

Applications must be made through the online application system,, which opened recently.

In most cases the renewal will be dealt with through SUSI. However, if you obtained a grant in the previous year from the Education and Training Board or your local authority, these bodies will also processes your 2014/2015 application.

SUSI and Your Income Tax Return While most people will focus on the 1st October 2014 for their 31st December 2013 Income Tax Return, those intending on applying for a student grant through SUSI will need to prepare their Income Tax information much earlier, as this information will be required as part of the application.

The closing date for new applications for the 2014/2015 academic year is 1st August 2014. However, it must be noted that the closing date for those renewing an application is 13th June 2013.

While the SUSI process requires you to prepare your Income Tax Returns earlier than the filing deadline October 31, 2014, payment of your final liability will not be brought forward.

Eligibility Requirements Under SUSI SUSI offers funding to eligible students in approved full-time, third-level education in Ireland, along with funding for Irish students studying overseas in certain circumstances.

Support may be available to all types of students, from school leavers to mature students returning to education. Funding is offered on a means tested basis. Household income for the previous year (31st December 2013) will be taken into account when assessing grant applications.

All relevant gross household income is taken into consideration and SUSI liaises with various government departments such as the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners in order to verify the information supplied in support of applications.

The SUSI website provides detailed information on all eligibility criteria, including an “Eligibility Reckoner”, which gives an approximate indication of possible eligibility for grant funding based on simplified criteria. The general eligibility requirements are as follows:

 Nationality

 Residency

Approved Institutions and Courses

 Means Test Based on Household Income

Income Details Required under SUSI The income taken into consideration under the SUSI application process will depend on your applicant class, as follows:

(a) Under 23 years assessed on your own income and that of your parents/guardians.

(b) Over 23 years dependent on whether or not you are living independently.

For the 2014/15 academic year, you will be assessed on household income for the period 1st January 2013 to 31st December 2013. The application will take into consideration all sources of gross income for that year.

As outlined above, for self employed individuals, you will be required to have your income tax return prepared in order to complete the SUSI application process. Income for PAYE Workers In the case of employed individuals, i.e. those earning income through the PAYE system, your income details will be obtained from your PAYE/PRSI Form P.60, which you will have received from your employer.

Income for Self Employed Individuals as outlined above, the Pay and File tax deadline for self employed individuals imposed by the Revenue Commissioners for 2013 is 31st October 2014.

However, due to the SUSI application closing dates of 1st August 2014, or 13th June 2014 in the case of renewals, the information required for your Income Tax Return will be required to be prepared well in advance of the Revenue Commissioners deadline.

However, you are not required to submit your Income Tax Return until 31st October 2014. It is vital to complete the SUSI application as early as possible, as this will facilitate a more efficient processing and payment of any grant entitlements.

It is advised that you speak to your accountant in connection with the preparation of your Income Tax Return. Full details on the online application process are available at First Consultation Free phone 066 7124439

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