Monday 18 December 2017

Sooner SUSI is fixed, the better for all concerned

CAN you guess what it was that Education Minister Ruairi Quinn referred to last June in such glowing terms as an "excellent example of public sector reform". No?

Does this help?

"The process is quick and easy, you do not have to have decided on your college course before applying and you will be informed much quicker on the outcome of your application."

Full marks for those who guessed SUSI, although they may find the SUSI they have come to know, or hear about, unrecognisable from the one the minister promised.

He also said: "Many students have had to wait for lengthy periods for their grants in the past and faced undue hardship as a result."

SUSI has been mired in controversy from the beginning. Delays, lost documentation and requests to students to send it on again have caused huge hardship.

Yesterday, the Dail Public Accounts Committee heard that three out of five appeals had succeeded.

With all that we have heard about SUSI, that is hardly surprising. It does, of course, bring some relief for the three out of five, but the point is they should never have been in that position, or not in those numbers.

A system that is working properly, even allowing for teething problems in its inaugural year, should not have that rate of errors.

It is late in the day, but these students can now pursue their studies with some certainty. But what about those who had to drop out of college because of the delays in processing grants?

SUSI is being reviewed. A new way of doing things cannot happen soon enough.

Irish Independent

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