Third-level grants up by 30 pc as 59,000 students awarded SUSI payments
The number of grants awarded to third-level students is up by 30 pc on last year, says the student grants awarded body SUSI.
According to the group, it was given out 59,000 grants so far in the academic year of 2015/16, some 15,000 more than those awarded last year.
SUSI said it still has at least another 23,000 grants to award based on the 106,000 applications it received for the 2015/2016 academic year.
The body said it had processed some 69 pc of these applications – approving the aforementioned 59,000, while rejecting another 13,000.
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“There are still some students who have begun the online application process but have yet to complete it and similarly they need to complete their applications before the closing date,” said Graham Doyle, Head of Communications & Customer Service with SUSI.
“I would urge those students who have still to submit their requested documentation to do so as soon as possible so that the assessment of their applications can be completed.”
Mr Doyle said that this year is the first were students grants were paid before October, with grants going out in September.
“Those awarded grants but still awaiting payment will receive their grants once their colleges confirm the students’ registration and attendance and the students have submitted their bank details through the online SUSI system,” he added.
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“Between now and Christmas the grants will be paid weekly to ensure that as many students as possible are paid as soon as such confirmation is received,” according to a statement from SUSI.
A Comptroller & Auditor General report earlier this year detailed a range of failures which caused chaos in the grant awarding system and resulted in the SUSI system losing €5.9m – three times its budget – in its first year in operation.
While the system was introduced to speed up the grant application process it has seen many students suffer extended delays, with some waiting one year for funds.
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At a Public Accounts Committee meeting in June of this year PAC chair John McGuinness said: “if that [SUSI] was a private business and allowed that to happen I’d say you wouldn’t be in business."
The closing date for receipt of applications for the 2015/16 academic year is Thursday, November 5.