The news has been slammed by Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty who called on the Minister for Education to immediately reverse this “grossly unfair measure.”
He said: “Figures given to me by Donegal County Council and Donegal VEC show that up to 777 current third level students will see a significant drop in their grant rate come September.
“This is as a result of the Budget 2011 measure which implemented a change in the criteria for the non-adjacent rate of maintenance grant.
“These 777 Donegal students who previously qualified for the full non-adjacent rate of €3,120 will now receive €1,250. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds who previously qualified for the special rate of €6,100 will now receive €2,445. This is on top of a 4% cut in student grants across the board.
“This is a hugely significant and extreme cut. Many students I have spoken to simply have no idea how they are going to get by or if they will even be able to carry on with their studies.
“The Minister for Education has been very vocal in the past on issues relating to third level education, on the need to build a knowledge economy to get the country out of recession and back on the road to recovery.
“The stark reality here is that this cut in grant rates will see many students drop out of college because they simply can’t afford it. What then for the knowledge economy?
“I call on the Minister to stand by his commitment to third level education and reverse this grossly unfair measure.”