Defining your Applicant Class as a Care Leaver
When applying for funding, a student can apply as a Dependent Student, a Mature Dependent Student or an Independent Student. This is known as applicant class and determines whose income is included in the income calculation for grant assessment purposes. Care leavers can apply in any category, depending on their age.
If you are under 23, you are automatically classed as a Dependent Student. However only your income is included in the income calculation for grant assessment purposes. If you live with foster parents, you apply with their details, but SUSI does not require any information regarding their income. If you are in Residential Care, or live independently, there is an option on the application form to select ‘In Care of the State’ or ‘Aftercare’. When your grant application is being assessed by SUSI, you will receive a letter asking you to send any documents which are needed to confirm the information you have given. You may be asked to submit a SUSI-Tusla form. Guidance notes are included in the form to help you complete it. If you or your foster parents receive Foster Care Allowance, Aftercare Allowance or Independent Living Allowance for Young People in Residential Care, you may be eligible for a Special Rate of grant.
You can apply as an Independent Student if you were 23 or over on 1 January of the year you enter or re-enter further or higher education. SUSI will request evidence of independent residency. Care leavers who do not have these types of documents, can submit a SUSI-Tusla form if they are still in the care of the state, or they can send a letter from their social worker, from Tusla or from the HSE stating they were previously in the care of the state.
Care Leavers who have been adopted
Adopted persons are assessed in the same way as students who apply with their biological parents or their legal guardians, regardless of when they were adopted or whose care they were previously under.
If you were adopted and are under 23, you apply to SUSI with your adoptive parents’ details. Their income, and your own will be included in the income calculation for grant assessment purposes.
If you were over 23 on 1 January of the year when you enter or re-enter further or higher education, and you were adopted after being in the care of the state, you can apply as a Mature Dependent Student or Independent Student. If you apply as a Mature Dependent Student, your income and your adoptive parent(s)’ income will be included in the income calculation for grant assessment purposes. If you apply as an Independent Student, you will be asked to provide evidence of independent residency. If you don’t have any of the accepted documents, you can apply as a Dependent Student with your adoptive parents’ details.