LAOIS-Offaly TD, Brian Stanley is claiming that the long delays in processing third level education grants is forcing many students to quit college, in what he described as a “student grant fiasco”.
“The centralisation this year of the third level grant system for first time applicants to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is an unmitigated disaster,” said Deputy Stanley.
“Thousands of students are still waiting to hear the outcome of their grant applications and are now in dire financial straits as a result. Many have run up debts to pay for accommodation, travel, school costs etc and are unable to continue their studies any longer while waiting on their grants.”
The local Sinn Fein TD said his constituency office has been contacted by many first year students who are angered and frustrated with SUSI and their appalling treatment by a failed state system.
“One distraught young student, who is a lone parent with a small child, said yesterday that she won’t be returning to college after the Christmas break because she just can’t afford it any longer,” he said. “The debts she owes since the beginning of the college year means she is unable to even provide a proper Christmas for her child. She said that she was making every effort and many sacrifices to further her education to secure a future for herself and her child but feels that the state has failed them both miserably.”
As this situation is replicated across the whole country, Dep Stanley said the time has come for change.
“It’s long past time that the Minister can stand by and allow the inefficiency and total incompetence of SUSI to jeopardise the education and futures of so many students,” Dep Stanley said.
“These students need the government to implement immediate steps and whatever additional resources are warranted to bring this disgraceful fiasco to an end,” he concluded.