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LCQ2: Financial assistance for students


    Following is a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (April 27):


    Will the Government inform this Council, among the applicants for financial assistance (including grants and loans) under the various schemes administered by the Student Financial Assistance Agency, of the respective numbers of persons who were eligible for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments and received such payments, in each of the past three years?


Madam President,

    It is Government Policy that no students would be deprived of education due to lack of means. At present, the Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA) administers a number of means-tested financial assistance schemes to provide assistance to needy students at various levels in the form of school textbook assistance, home-school travel subsidies, tuition fee remission, grant and loans, etc. as appropriate.

    To be eligible for means-tested financial assistance, applicants are required to pass an income test, which takes into account the income level and the size of their family. In respect of financial assistance schemes for needy post-secondary students, an asset test would also apply.

    To ensure proper use of public monies, Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients up to senior secondary level generally would not be eligible for further assistance from SFAA as CSSA already covers their basic needs including study-related expenses. Post-secondary students generally are not eligible for CSSA. Students with financial hardship may apply for financial assistance from SFAA under various financial assistance schemes to meet their tuition fees, academic expenses and living expenses.

    The eligibility criteria for CSSA are different from those for student financial assistance. Based on the information provided by the applicants in support of their applications for student financial assistance, SFAA is not able to determine whether they are eligible for CSSA. To prevent abuse, it is the established practice for SFAA to check with the Social Welfare Department to ensure that under normal circumstances no successful applicants under means-tested student financial assistance schemes are concurrently receiving CSSA.

Ends/Wednesday, April 27, 2005


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