Sunday 15 December 2019

Extra €3m 'not enough' for student hardship fund

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Student leaders have warned that an additional €3m for an emergency hardship fund will not be enough.

Delays in the new centralised grant processing system, SUSI, has left about 13,000 qualifying students without any maintenance payment since September.

The logjam is blamed, in part, for a massive 67pc increase in applications to the Student Assistance Fund this year.

The fund is for students experiencing severe financial hardship.

The extra €3m brings to €11m the amount of money available to the fund.

Announcing the €3m yesterday, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn recognised problems with SUSI as one of the factors driving students to seek help.

But Union of Students in Ireland (USI) president, John Logue, said while the additional funding was welcome it was not sufficient to meet the unprecedented demand. He said a further €1m was needed.

"This fund is an emergency option ... If it runs out of money, so do they," he said.

Irish Independent

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