Back to Education Allowance (BTEA)
If you are unemployed, parenting alone or have a disability and are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection, you may take part in a second-or third-level education course and get a Back to Education Allowance (BTEA).
If you want to do other types of courses not covered under the BTEA, for example, personal development courses or general training courses you can return to education under the Education, Training and Development option, Part-time Education option or the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS).
The Department of Social Protection has published Frequently Asked Questions about the scheme.
From June 2014 all new BTEA claims from jobseekers must be recommended by a DSP case officer before a decision is made on your BTEA entitlement.
Changes for 2015/16 academic year
If you were getting a jobseeker’s payment or a One-Parent Family Payment you must re-establish your entitlement to a primary payment to continue to be entitled to BTEA for the second or subsequent years of study.
The Student Grant Scheme is divided into 2 components – maintenance grants and fee grants. You cannot get the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) and the maintenance component of a student grant together.
Although you are not entitled to the maintenance component of the student grant, you must still submit a student grant application form to be assessed for a fee grant to pay your Student Contribution (formerly called the student services charge), field trip costs and tuition fees (if payable).
If you are getting a One-Parent Family Payment (or Jobseeker’s Allowance Transitional payment) or a disability payment (Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Illness Benefit) you can choose to stay on your current social welfare payment (if you continue to meet the rules of the scheme) and apply for a student grant or you can choose to transfer to the BTEA, depending on which option benefits you most. In general, people who are studying full-time are not entitled to Rent Supplement unless they are getting BTEA.
You may be able to clain tax relief on tuition fees paid for approved Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses. Lists of courses and colleges approved for relief each year are published on the Revenue website www.revenue.ie
You can claim tax relief as long as you have actually paid the fees, either on your own or on behalf of another person.
You cannot claim tax relief on:
- Registration, examination or administration fees
- Any part of the tuition fees that is met directly or indirectly by a grant, a scholarship or otherwise, e.g.where fees are reimbursed by an employer.
To apply, collect a form from local Tax Office or download a copy from the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie
- receipt from University for fees paid, indicating amount of tuition fees paid and academic year to which they relate;
- name and address of the student;
- title of course of study and its duration;
- indication as to whether the course is full-time or part-time;
- name and address of the individual who has paid the tuition fees, if not paid by the student (e.g. parent, spouse);
For more information, contact the Students’ Union Vice-President / Education Officer, or your local tax office.
The number for the Galway Tax Office is (091) 547700.
For up-to-date info check StudentFinance.ie