Going to College: If you haven’t applied to SUSI, now is the time to explore it
Now that Leaving Cert exams are coming to an end, it is essential that anyone who thinks they may qualify for a SUSI grant and are even considering entering further or higher education should submit their application as soon as possible.
The priority closing date for new applicants is July 11. All new applicants should apply by this date in order to ensure there is no delay in receiving funds come autumn. Applications will continue to be accepted up to October 31 - but they will not receive priority processing.
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Students who think they are eligible for SUSI support should submit an application even if they are not sure they will accept a place in further or higher education.
The SUSI website has an eligibility reckoner where potential applicants can enter information and get an indication as to their eligibility for grant funding.
Students do not need to have their Leaving Certificate results, or to have accepted a course, in order to apply - all they have to do is to provide details of the course they hope to study, and course choices can be updated at a later stage, if necessary
CAO also informs SUSI of college places accepted by students who have enabled CAO to inform SUSI of this: when completing the form all applicants were asked to indicate if they intended to apply to SUSI. Anyone considering applying for the grant who didn't tick this box on the form before February 1, can do it during the Change of Mind period, up to July 1.
This is separate from the SUSI application process but it allows the agency to receive an applicant's offer and acceptance information from the CAO.
Up to last Friday, SUSI had received 28,564 new applications - these would mainly be Leaving Cert candidates.
It is understandable that many school-leavers have not yet begun working on their application but, if not, it should get priority now.
SUSI processes applications in the order in which they arrive, so even now there is a benefit to submitting the application as early as possible. Ensuring that any payments to which a student is entitled are available when they need them and knowing in advance of college registration what payments or fee support to expect will make the transition to further and higher education a lot easier, and will reduce the stress of preparing and saving for college.
When beginning a SUSI application, applicants will be asked to create an account with their own login and password. Applicants will then be asked to submit information about their family circumstances as well as income and social welfare payments. Due to the nature of the information requested, it can be very helpful to complete these sections with the help of a parent. There are some step-by-step videos online which all applicants should take some time to watch before starting their application.
If, at any stage, an applicant cannot answer a question or does not have the relevant information to hand they can save their progress, log out and return at a later date. SUSI will begin processing the application after it is submitted. Once all sections have been completed, the website will generate a personalised list of any documents which will need to be forwarded to SUSI.
SUSI advises students to double check all information especially PPS numbers and dates of births, as small mistakes can lead to unnecessary delays to payments.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin