The Minister for Education’s plan to include farm assists in the means-testing for third level grants is another attack on education supports for rural communities.
That is the view of the Fianna Fáil organisation in Bangor who were made aware of the new arrangements by local TD Dara Calleary. “Minister for Education and Science Ruairi Quinn has confirmed that he will introduce changes to the eligibility criteria for third level grants from next year, and he has now set up a group in his Department to make recommendations on implementing this decision, taking into account capital assets such as farms when people apply for third level grants.
“This is a very unfair development. Up until now farmers were assessed on their income, just like everyone else, and not on the value of their land. If the Minister starts assessing small farmers on the value of their land it will mean that virtually no children of small farmers will be eligible for a higher education grant. This will have a detrimental effect on students from the Erris area.”
Dara Calleary TD added, “After just over 12 months in office the Minister has changed the pupil/teacher ratio in primary schools, cut posts at rural disadvantaged schools, and is trying to force small primary schools to amalgamate. He is now targeting farming families for cuts to third level grants and he must be strongly opposed.”