Tuesday 20 August 2019

It's not too late to apply for a student grant

Financial support

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Aoife Walsh

Grants are available to support students in both higher education and further education and anyone who thinks they may be eligible should waste no time in applying to the centralised agency, SUSI.

Grants may be paid to undergraduate students in a university, institute of technology and for certain courses in some other higher education colleges, as well as to students on post-Leaving Cert (PLC) courses

Even though the priority deadline for application has passed, it is still possible to apply for grant support.

SUSI grants are means-tested and anyone who thinks that they may qualify and are even considering attending higher or further education, should begin the application process immediately.

Applications should be made even if a student has not fully decided if they will go to college: the sooner they apply, the sooner they will get their grant. .

Anyone unsure about qualifying can use the Eligibility Reckoner on susi.ie, which will give an indication of whether an application would succeed, based on information provided in response to some questions.

Grant applicants will be assessed on gross income from all sources for the calendar year, January 1-December 31, 2018. There are two categories: 'Dependant' and 'Independent'. A 'Dependant' applicant is assessed on the income of the 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 for eligibility applied to a household depends on factors such as the number of children; the number of those children attending college; and type of courses the applicant intends to pursue, i.e. a post-Leaving Cert course (PLC) or an undergraduate programme.

Income thresholds vary from €24,000 to €64,700 (the latter figure applies where there are more than eight children with at least one attending third level).

The amount awarded depends on income/number of children and other factors, including distance from college (a higher rate, known as non-adjacent, is paid if a student lives more than 45km away from college, while the adjacent rate applies for distances of 45km or under), with a special rate where the family is in receipt of a specified social welfare payment.

For PLC students, the maintenance grant is the only funding. No fee contribution is pad.

For undergraduate students, the amount awarded may vary from 100pc maintenance and 100pc student contribution charge grant to no maintenance and 50pc student contribution charge grant.

Students should complete their application online at susi.ie and ensure they provide accurate information, taking care to check the personal details of their family and should enlist the help of a parent to avoid errors.

Any mistakes can cause frustrating delays to payments.

Once the online application is complete, susi.ie will notify applicants of any documentation they will be required to submit.

It is essential that applicants collect and forward requested documents as soon as possible. Once submitted, applications can be tracked online.

If applicants have questions or difficulties, they should contact SUSI. SUSI will also have a representative answering questions this week on the NPCpp Helpline: 1800 265 165.

SUSI Facts

In 2018/19 the main grants awarded were:

Students
17,448 100pc Student Contribution & €3,025
maintenance grant (non-adjacent)
15,227 100pc Student Contribution & €1,215
maintenance grant (adjacent)
12,500 100pc Student Contribution & €2,375
maintenance grant (Special Rate*,
adjacent)
11,813 100pc Student Contribution & €5,915
maintenance grant (Special Rate,**
non-adjacent)

* Where household income did not exceed €23,500 (this has risen to €24,000 for 2019/20 year) and where a specified social welfare payment was paid.

** 86pc of new grants were paid by October. 

FAQs

Q: Based on my results, I hope I have enough points for my top choice course but I didn't achieve the minimum grade in a subject that is a requirement for that course. Is there any chance I will get a place on the course?

A: There is no chance of you being offered a course if you do not meet all the subject requirements. Points are the last piece of the puzzle and are only considered after you have met all other requirements.

If you feel that you should have received a better grade for this subject you may view the script along with the marking scheme, which will give you a good insight into how marks were allocated.

It also allows an opportunity to see if any mistakes were made in the marking of the paper. If you feel that you may have grounds for a recheck you could submit an appeal.

Q: I 'failed' maths. What options do I have?

A: It is always disappointing to 'fail' a subject, especially maths, which is a requirement for many courses. However there are more than 250 courses in the CAO system where there are no maths requirements. Use the CAO 'course finder' on careersportal.ie - set the 'no maths required' filter - to find these.

Remember that many courses will accept a H7 grade. Also, some institutions have second-chance maths exams.

PLCs require students to 'pass' five subjects, but maths doesn't necessarily have to be one of them.

Irish Independent

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