A Government decision to extend the earned income disregard for students who undertake employment during the summer period is good news for students and good news for the economy, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Waterford Senator John Cummins said, “Students had been concerned about losing their SUSI grant for the 2023/24 academic year if they took on extra working hours this summer.

“That’s why I recently advocated for an increase in the earned income disregard for the student grant to allow them that flexibility to take on more work.

“I am delighted that Government has approved this proposal brought to Cabinet today by my colleague the Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris. The Government has agreed to increase the holiday earnings income disregard from €4,500 to €6,552. This will mean a student can earn €2,000 more during their academic break and not lose eligibility for the grant in 2023.

“We can now encourage students to take on additional work during the busy summer period without the fear of any negative impact on their finances for the upcoming academic term.

“This is good news for students but it’s also really crucial to supporting employment in the tourism and hospitality sectors, which are experiencing staff shortages ahead of the busy summer period.

“I wish to thank Minister Harris for considering this proposal carefully and showing flexibility by extending the earned income disregard for students who undertake employment during the summer period.”

Minister Harris added, “We have listened to students and businesses across the country. It is clear this has been playing on the minds of students and impacted their ability or desire to work over the academic break.

“Businesses have also highlighted the shortage in students willing to work over the summer, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“So, today the Government has approved the changes, which I expect will make a real difference to students and businesses across the country.”

Senator Cummins concluded, “Fine Gael is also working to help with the cost of college with a focus on cutting student fees and providing more student grants. From September, all student grants will increase by €200 and eligibility will widen with changes to the income thresholds meaning more people will qualify. The non-adjacent rate will reduce to 30km meaning some students will see their grant increase by 30%,” Senator Cummins concluded.