Saturday 3 December 2016

It is not too late to apply for a grant - but do it now

Aoife Walsh

Published 17/08/2015 | 06:00

Now is the time to apply for a college grant.
Now is the time to apply for a college grant.

While the closing date for applications for priority processing to the grant-awarding body SUSI was August 1, it is not too late to apply, although applications submitted at this stage may experience some delays.

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The grant is means-tested, and a student who feels they may qualify, and is considering taking a place in further or higher level education, should begin the process immediately, if they have not already done so. Overall, a little more than four in 10 third-level students qualify for a grant.

Applications should be made even if a student has not fully decided if they will accept a place in college.

All applicants will be assessed on gross income, from all sources, for the period January 1, 2014-December 31, 2014. They will be assessed as either a 'Dependant' or 'Independent' applicant.

A 'Dependant' applicant is assessed on the income of the parents or legal guardian while an 'Independent' applicant is assessed on their own income and that of their spouse/civil partner or cohabitant.

The income threshold applied to a household will differ depending on factors such as the number of children in the household, the number of those children currently attending college and type of courses the applicant intends to pursue, i.e. post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) or undergraduate.

Depending on income, the amount awarded may vary from the maximum 100pc maintenance grant and 100pc student contribution, to no maintenance and 50pc student contribution.

The qualifying income thresholds vary from €22,703 to €64,285, the latter for a family with more than eight children with at least one attending third level.

Potential applicants should first visit the eligibility reckoner on susi.ie, where they may enter information about nationality, income, educational history, etc.

If the eligibility reckoner indicates that an applicant may qualify, they should proceed to grantsonline.ie or the susi.ie home page and click the 'Apply Here' icon.

Here the applicant will be asked to create a user name and password before entering the system and filling out the application form. It may be helpful to read the application form guide on susi.ie.

Applicants will need to have their PPS number and, as they will be asked questions in relation to income and benefits, it is a good idea to have a parent present when completing the form.

Applicants can 'save' their progress and return later of they come across a question they cannot answer.

Once the online application is complete, susi.ie will notify applicants of any documentation they will be required to submit.

* A SUSI representative will be available to answer questions on the Exam 2015 Helpline: 1800 265 165

Irish Independent

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