THE number of third-level students receiving grants soared by 13pc in Dublin but dropped by almost 10pc in Mayo after the introduction of the centralised grant agency, SUSI.
The huge swings, in the space of just one year, have been attributed by observers to the consistency in processing applications offered by the new system.
Previously, some 66 agencies, including county councils and VECs were involved in deciding who got grants.
Overall, the number of third-level students receiving a grant to help them through college has soared to almost 80,000. Growing demand for places combined with tightening family finances helped push grant awards to a record 79,235 in 2012/13.