Kildare South Deputy Martin Heydon has today urged all students hoping to avail of the student grant scheme for this autumn to apply early to avoid delay.

The Department of Education and Skills has this week announced details of the further and higher education Student Grant Scheme for the 2011/12 academic year.

Up until now, there were four grant schemes.  In the first major step to overhaul the student grant system, the four schemes have been replaced by a single unified scheme this year.  This will make it far easier for students to apply for a grant.

With the Leaving Certificate finished, Deputy Heydon is urging students who may qualify to apply as quickly as possible for a grant and to ensure that forms are correctly completed.

“ In the past students who waited until late in the process to apply can face delayed decisions.  I would advise all those who hope to receive a college place to apply as soon as possible.  This will also allow any errors in the applications to be dealt with early” advised Heydon

The grantsonline system through will play an important role in reducing application completion errors because the system is intelligent to the information being input.

Deputy Heydon confirmed that income limits to qualify for maintenance grants and payment of the student contribution remain unchanged for the new academic year.

However, students should be aware of a change introduced to the scheme under the last government’s Budget 2011 which reduces the qualifying distance criterion for the non-adjacent rate of grant from 24kms to 45km.

Details of the scheme together with the application form and guidance notes are available in the grants section of  or from Kildare County Council at