Wednesday 29 March 2017

Students left without grants are in dire straits

Dear Editor IT is simply not good enough that in the month of November 52,430 students are still waiting for their third level grant applications to be processed through the SUSI online grant system.

This system has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, leaving tens of thousands of students in dire straits.

Take the case of a first year student from the Macroom area who is attending a course in CIT. She has still not received her grant despite applying through SUSI in mid-June.

The young woman in question comes from a one parent family who, despite the best efforts of her mother, is struggling to pay for her books, meals etc, and her bus fare of over €60 a week. Her mother went into debt in order to send her daughter to [Cork City] and she is the first ever member of their family to reach third level education.

Here is a young person who wants to better herself and make a positive contribution to society but who now may be forced to drop out of college because a grant, to which she is fully entitled, has not yet been paid.

Since commencing her studies in September, she and her family have been placed under immense stress as a result of the worry that comes from having little or no money.

Sadly, the failure of SUSI has already had serious consequences for some students, who have been forced out of college through poverty at a time when higher education is so important for the longterm prosperity of our economy.

It is well past time for Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to intervene directly to ensure that waiting applicants are paid their entitlements immediately. Des O'Grady, Sinn Féin, Macroom LEA.

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