Saturday 25 November 2017

Student grant system clearly not fit for purpose

SUSI, the student grant online application scheme introduced last year, has a chaotic history and the tale has not yet ended. Far from speeding up grant payments, it led to a flood of errors and delays. Many applicants suffered severe hardship. Some simply abandoned their hopes of a place in third-level education. They dropped out or emigrated.

And even now, as SUSI winds up its operations for 2012-13, the work has not been completed. A total of 36,776 grants have been approved, but 2,800 are still being processed. And consultants have still not finished their review of the system.

At the centre of the problem is the bizarre fact that last year the "online" system did not merit the description. Students who applied for grants had to post an average of 12 supporting documents, such as evidence of income and college acceptance forms.

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