Local farm family slamm Quinns proposal on third level grants

Martin Grant

Reporter:

Martin Grant

A local farming family has slammed proposals by the Minister for Education to include assets in the assessment of third level grants

A local farming family has slammed proposals by the Minister for Education to include assets in the assessment of third level grants

“I’m really not impressed at all, nobody from the farming community is impressed at this” said Gerdaline, “You could be asset rich, but your income could be low. It doesn’t make sense.”

Gerdaline, who is a fourth year student studying business studies in the DkIT, is furious at the idea and said that there is no thought behind the proposal.

“They are effectively saying that if a family owns x-amount of cows and x-amounts of farm sheds that you can afford to go to college without getting any assistance from the grant system. What you own doesn’t reflect on what income you earn. I’m really annoyed, farmers are trying to make a living as it is.

If this is implemented I can see many students from farming backgrounds being unable to go to college. They effectively won’t have a choice.”

Gerdaline’s family have also been a victim of the recession, as her older brother, who is an agriculture mechanic, had to emigrate to Australia.

“It’s tough on families, we miss him very much. But if this goes ahead, I can see many more emigrating,” Gerdaline added.

Meanwhile, Macra na Feirme National President, Alan Jagoe said “Including assets such as farming land is incredibly short-sighted on behalf of the Minister for Education. Many farm families while asset rich are income poor. 2009 proved to be a prime example with average incomes well below the average industrial wage.

Farm assets are productive assets and are essential to the ongoing survival of the business from generation to generation and cannot be factored into means testing for higher education grants. These sectors of the economy must be exempted from such proposals.”