Saturday 21 October 2017

Case Study: 'I was forced to defer my place – it's a year of my life wasted'

STUART Davies should be finishing his degree this summer and taking the first steps in his new career but problems he encountered with SUSI forced him to drop out of college.

Stuart (48) now has to wait until September to begin his fourth and final year at IT Sligo.

Having been out of the workplace for a number of years, he heeded advice about building new skills.

Originally from Lancashire in England, Stuart, who worked for 30 years in information technology and has suffered health issues since 2005, decided to go to college. "I wanted to get back to computing," he said.

Stuart completed the third year of his computer games development degree last year and submitted his application to SUSI for a maintenance grant for his final year.

"I submitted my application in June and when I checked up in August, I was told it had been cancelled," he said.

"I hadn't been informed and when I asked what was going on, I was told that they didn't know. I wanted to appeal but I was told that the best option was to reapply.

"I took their advice and reapplied. I followed it up week after week. And I was told it was being assessed."

Stuart, who is in receipt of an invalidity pension, said when it came to October, he could not afford the €90 a week to travel from his home in Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim, to IT Sligo.

"I started going by bus and it reduced the cost to €70 a week but I couldn't afford that either."

Stuart received a letter from SUSI at the end of December stating that he had approval. "By that time, I had already deferred my place. I have wasted a year of my life".

Irish Independent

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