All funds paid out in grants are 100% provided by the Department of Education and Skills from the tax payer. The means test takes account of all financial information and is used to identify necessitous applicants below a certain threshold. The criteria for the test are reviewed annually by the board of directors of the SEC.
Currently the test takes after tax income and deducts cost of family accommodation either rent or mortgage payments, allowance for dependent children, special circumstances and the result is the Net Reckonable Income “NRI” for grant assessment.
Non family home/business property assets are also assessed with an allowance of €300,000 for Net Asset Value (value less related debt). An application with a Net Asset Value exceeding this allowance will fail the means test.
Liquid assets are treated differently to property as they are divisible and can be converted to cash with relative ease e.g. bank savings/current accounts, investment bonds, cash deposits, shares in publicly quoted companies. The surplus value over the current allowance of €150,000 is considered quasi additional income and is factored into the calculation of the NRI.
Net Reckonable Incomes are divided into bands of €5,000 and grant amounts are awarded based on these bands.
The highest Net Reckonable Income that qualifies for a grant currently is €45,000.
Grant amounts and income bands are reviewed annually by the board of directors of the SEC.
*Subject to review by SEC board for 2018/19 assessment*
||Net Reckonable Income Range
|| € 7,629
|| € 7,200
An additional 10% add on subject to a capping at full fee levels was made in 2017 to reflect disbursal by the board of surplus cash which had accumulated over the last few years.