The SUSI grant is a means-tested support for eligible students at third level or further education. In the current academic year, more than 77,500 students have been awarded grants.
While it is still too early to apply it can be helpful for applicants who may be worried about financing third level to be aware that it is available and have a general idea about how to go about it.
The application process will open in the spring, traditionally in April. However, students and their parents may find it helpful to fill in the ‘eligibility reckoner’ on susi.ie.
This allows potential applicants to enter personal information about their nationality, income, educational history, etc and gives an indication of whether or not they are likely to qualify. The priority closing date for applications for the grant is in July. Applicants should aim to submit their application by this date. Although it is still possible to apply after this cut-off, beating the July deadline helps to ensure that payment is ready before college registration in the autumn.
All applicants will be assessed on gross income from all sources for the period January 1-December 31 2020. The system will also take into account any subsequent negative change in circumstances, including where that may be Covid-related.
Applicants will be assessed as either a ‘Dependant’ or ‘Independent’ applicant. A dependant applicant is assessed on the income of parents or legal guardian while an independent applicant is assessed on their own income and that of their spouse/civil partner or cohabitant.
The income threshold applied to a household will differ depending on factors such as the number of children in the house, the number of those children currently attending college and type of courses the applicant intends to pursue, e.g. PLC or undergraduate.
Depending on income, the amount awarded will vary from 100pc maintenance grant and 100pc student contribution to no maintenance grant and 50pc student contribution. Last year, the income eligibility thresholds ranged from €24,500 to €54,630, the latter where there were more than eight children, with at least one attending third level.
When the process opens, intending applicants should apply via the susi.ie website. Getting an application in early can be really beneficial and students may even know their grant status by the end of June, which gives great comfort when budgeting for a college year ahead. Supplying the correct information and relevant documentation on time is essential. Once submitted applications can be tracked online.
The SUSI grant scheme is being reviewed and it may be that there will be some positive changes in time for the 2021/2022 year, although more significant reforms are not expected until at least 2022.