College grants to be paid into bank accounts
Happy days are on the way for more than 70,000 third-level students who depend on grants to get through college.
A new system will ensure payments are lodged automatically into their bank accounts every month.
It will replace the current system of payments three times a year, with cheques channelled to students through college authorities.
The changes are the result of a long-awaited overhaul in the administration of grants, and were announced by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn yesterday.
The current system was frequently criticised by students, who often faced delays of months for their grant cheques.
A series of changes will transform the student grant experience over the next four years.
The City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC) has been selected as the single, centralised grant- awarding authority, replacing the 66 VECs and local authorities that currently handle the work locally.
For the 2011/12 year, students will still apply to their local authorities -- the transition to the CDVEC will start in 2012.
Online applications will become the norm and payments through electronic transfer are being rolled out.
Student grants vary depending on circumstances such as family income and distance from college, but, in the main, are in the range of €3,250 to €6,355 a year.