Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has confirmed the Government is considering a change to the earning limit for students in receipt of the SUSI grant. Currently, a student can earn no more than €4,500 before their SUSI grant is impacted.

Mr Harris is now working on proposals that will allow students in receipt of the grant to work longer hours in an effort to address staffing shortages in several areas of the economy. A figure of €6,500 has been mooted as a potential new level of the earnings limit.

Both Mr Harris and the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar have met with business leaders to discuss the severe shortage of staff, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Mr Harris said “I have been working very closely with the Tánaiste on this. We have been meeting with business people across this country who are really worried about how they are going to keep their businesses open over the summer months.”

“This is a particular challenge for those working in hospitality and tourism. I have been meeting with the Restaurants Association of Ireland and they are worried about staff shortages and how they are going to maintain what they need. I have also listened to students too,” he added.

There is no agreement at government level yet, discussions are also taking place between the Minister and student representatives ahead of finalising the revised earning limit. The Tánaiste has publicly endorsed the change calling the current limits “a perverse disincentive.”

Conor Paterson – Co-Editor