Saturday 23 September 2017

PAC to probe what went wrong in SUSI

PAC chairman John McGuinness
PAC chairman John McGuinness
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has expressed "serious concern" about the operation of Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) in its first year.

A litany of deficiencies in the planning and organisation of the centralised third-level student grant awarding body, have been highlighted in a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG). The deficiencies led to cost-overruns and some poor decision-making in the start-up period during 2012/13.

Among the issues raised in the report is an overpayment of €4m in grants to students in 2012/13 - which has not been recovered - as well as a high rate of successful appeals where grants were not awarded.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said it wanted to examine the nature of the costs incurred in administrating the scheme, which totalled €7.16m in 2012.

He also said the committee was concerned about the quality of the assessments, the quality of decision-making, and the lack of appropriate oversight in SUSI's first year of operation.

PAC will discuss the report at a hearing on June 11 to which senior officials at the Department of Education and other relevant agencies will be invited. SUSI, which is administered by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), is taking over work previously done by 66 local authorities and VECs.

Irish Independent

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