Deputy Michael Lowry has highlighted the gravity of the delays within the Student Grant system and has criticised the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn T.D. for failing to adequately tackle these problems. Further to a Parliamentary Question laid down by the Independent T.D. for Tipperary it was confirmed by SUSI that over 2,600 student grant applications have been received from County Tipperary and of these only 490 have been awarded to date.
Deputy Lowry stated;
“We now find ourselves in a position whereby it is nearing years end and only a paltry 490 grants have been awarded out of the total 2,632 applications received from students across Co. Tipperary. This means a huge portion of Tipperary students are still in limbo, awaiting a decision on the status of their grant.”
“Students are now facing the realisation that grants will not be awarded prior to Christmas and it may be some time into the New Year before the delay in the system is tackled and all grant applications resolved.”
“This new system was supposed to streamline and simplify the system in place. Instead it is doing nothing but fostering confusion and creating hardship for strained students and families. The reality is that it simply cannot cope with the volume of applications received. As result of the backlog in SUSI we now have a situation where students are attending college with an axe hanging over their heads whereby they will not know for some months if their grants will be approved and if they can continue with their courses. In these difficult times the difference between securing a grant on time can be the difference between being able to complete a year in college or not.”