UP TO half of first-year college students awaiting a maintenance grant face Christmas without receiving payment.
About 33,000 of the 67,000 applicants for a student maintenance grants are expected to be approved.
But a change in the application system this year has triggered controversy about the delay in processing claims.
A new, centralised applications system known as SUSI was rolled out this year. It is administered by the City of Dublin VEC (CDVEC).
CDVEC said that there were 17,373 applications approved for payment to date, and of those 11,404 had been paid.
It insisted that at least another 2,000 students would be paid by tomorrow.
For others, CDVEC said it was awaiting their bank details to allow payments go through.
However, even where the maintenance grant had been approved, not all will receive payment unless their bank details are submitted.
Meanwhile, a grants protest that would have seen college students sleeping outside the Dail was cancelled after gardai refused them permission.