Sunday 25 August 2019

80pc of applicants awarded SUSI grant last year - but just 12pc got maximum amount possible

The SUSI grant is the main source of financial assistance for many students. Stock photo: Getty
The SUSI grant is the main source of financial assistance for many students. Stock photo: Getty

Evie Kearney

Just over 12pc of students who applied for a grant received the maximum amount possible last year, figures have revealed.

Figures from the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) also show that 80.76pc of applicants were awarded some type of grant for the academic year 2018/19.

According to SUSI, students who received the maximum grant, referred to as the "special rate", came from households 45km or more from the college with a combined income of €24,000 or less that also included "one of the long term Department of Social Protection eligible payments" such as the carer's allowance.

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3.73pc of applicants received the lowest available grant by having half of their college fees paid, while 12.28pc were awarded the highest with their fees paid in full and a monthly maintenance payment of €657.22.

The lowest maintenance payment of €33.89 per month was awarded to 1,341 students last year.

The most common type of grant received by students (18.23pc) was the '100pc non-adjacent' grant given to applicants with a household income of €39,875 or less and an address at least 45km from their college. These students had their fees paid in full and received monthly payments of €336.11.

Grant applications are assessed based on income from the previous calendar year. Applicants for the 2018/19 grant were required to submit financial information from January to December 2017.

Last year, 98,793 students applied for a grant - 15,883 were refused while a further 3,121 applications were cancelled. This figure includes both undergraduate, postgraduate and post-Leaving Certificate course students across all years of study.

As thousands of students received their Leaving Certificate results on Tuesday, Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor suggested that those under financial pressure should use the SUSI grant to cover the rising cost of rent.

The Minister also encouraged those who are rejected by SUSI to appeal the decision.

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