7,000 Leaving Cert pupils already awarded their Susi grants
Thousands of Leaving Certificate students have already been told that they will receive a college grant in September.
Even before the exams finish, school-leavers who applied early to the grants agency, Susi, have a decision made in principle. It provides comfort to students and their parents, who don't have to spend the summer wondering whether a grant will be forthcoming.
Susi opened its application process earlier than ever this year and, so far, has awarded 32,000 grants, including 7,000 first-timers. The rest are renewals to continuing students.
First-time applicants normally have to wait until they get a CAO offer in August before being given news on a grant.
But in a change this year, Susi is assuming that an applicant will receive their top CAO choice and, if they meet the criteria for a grant, it is awarded.
If applicants do not get their first CAO choice, and accept a different offer, the grant will be paid without any further action by the student. Grants are not paid until after students register with the college.
Susi is now in its fifth year and, after a stormy birth, ongoing improvements to its systems and processes have brought significant enhancements.
This year, Susi expects to process more than 110,000 applications, up from more than 108,000 last year. More than 83,000 students, across all college years, were awarded grants for 2015-16.
So far this year, Susi has received more than 62,000 applications, of which 34,000 have been processed and 32,000 awarded.
Among the 62,000 "early birds" are 28,500 first-time applicants - predominantly this year's school-leavers, 7,000 of whom have been successful.
Susi is continuing to advise early application and July 8 is the deadline for applications that will receive priority processing.