Students from the Aran Islands attending college in NUI Galway or GMIT are considered to be too close to Galway to qualify for full grants.
A reduced rate of grant applies to those living within 45km of the third level college they attend.
But the exclusion of students from the Aran Islands from full grants was described as ‘daft bureaucracy’ this week by Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish.
“The rules say students must live more than 45km away to get the full, or non-adjacent, rate — and because it’s measured ‘as the crow flies’, Aran people are excluded.
“If ever there was an example of daft bureaucracy then this is it. And it makes a difference of several thousand euro to an individual student,” said Deputy Grealish.
Currently the full maintenance grant for qualifying students is €3,025, with a much reduced rate of €1,215 for those living within 45km of college.
An increased special grant of €5,915 is available to disadvantaged students, reducing to €2,375 if they are within the distance limit.
Speaking at an election hustings organised by the 2nd year GMIT School of Business students on Tuesday, Deputy Grealish also expressed his support for a reversal of the 2011 Budget change that increased the non-adjacent distance from 24km to 45km.
“It’s all very well in a place like Dublin to say that students must live at least 45km away to get the full grant, but in rural Ireland where transport links can be poor or patchy it’s a very different story.
“Using the ‘as the crow flies’ rule doesn’t make sense at any rate — the real distance people have to travel can be much longer in rural areas in particular,” added Deputy Grealish.