Deputy Lowry has criticised Minister Ruairí Quinn for failing to take meaningful action to tackle the huge backlog of student grant applications currently with the awarding body, SUSI. Whilst some changes have been made the backlog of Student Grant applications still exists. The Independent T.D. for North Tipperary has stated that Minister Ruairí Quinn must to do more to ensure that strained students received their grants without any further undue delay.
In a Parliamentary Question tabled on the matter by Deputy Lowry, it was put to Minister Quinn that the huge delays were placing students and their families under severe financial pressure and were jeopardising students’ abilities to continue to move forward and advance with their studies. Deputy Lowry stated that in these difficult times the grant can mean the difference between being able to go on to third level education or not.
“It is grossly unfair that we have a situation whereby it is now November and thousands upon thousands of students are left in the dark, facing mounting bills, with regards to the status of their grant application. The SUSI system has been a disaster with a complete breakdown and lack of information passing between the applicant and the awarding body.”
“Whilst the Minister has taken some steps to tackle this issue the real problem still exists. I welcome the fact that more staff have been allocated but the problem faced by applicants is the conflicting information given to them when contacting SUSI. New staff must be fully trained in the intricacies of the system and must be able to equip students with the most up to date information on their application. This is a problem that must be addressed within the awarding body and is nothing to do with a lack of information on the side of the applicant. Putting a moderator on Boards.ie or sending out generalised information is of little assistance to an applicant who has a specific query and who is meeting a stone wall when contacting SUSI.”