The Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers' Association has called on the Minister for Education to clear up what it says is misinformation about farmers and third-level grants.
ICSA President Gabriel Gilmartin said Minister Ruairi Quinn and Labour Party Chairman Colm Keaveney should clarify the situation.
Mr Gilmartin said that for the past few weeks all kinds of misinformation have been allowed to “fester” regarding third level grants.
He said that the most significant “lie” is that a farmer could buy, for example, a tractor, and use the full cost of the tractor to cancel out income, thereby qualifying their child for a third-level grant.
He said such investments are not allowable when calculating eligibility for the grant.
All capital investments, he said, including farm machinery, livestock housing and pollution control facilities, are expressly excluded by both the new system operated by SUSI and the old system operated by local authorities and the VEC.
Mr Gilmartin said the rules state clearly that interest incurred on borrowings for such investments is also not allowed, nor is the leasing cost of machinery.
He also argued that the perception that farmers can manipulate their income in order to have a bad year for the purposes of grant assessment is incorrect.
He said that farm incomes are volatile and can fluctuate dramatically from year to year.