Grants delay causing 'real hardship'
Institutes of Technology Ireland has said delays in processing maintenance grants have caused students real hardship.
The organisation echoed comments made yesterday by Union of Students in Ireland president John Logue, who said students are struggling to pay for rent and food because of the delays.
First-time grant applications are being processed this year by Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi), a centralised system operated by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC).
Denis Cummins, chairman of the institutes of technology body and president of Dundalk IT, expressed concern about Susi’s ability to process grant applications in future years. This year Susi processed only first year student applications.
“As a system I think we have concerns about Susi’s capacity to cope, how is that going to ramp up in future years?” Mr Cummins said, adding a lot of work has to be done to regain confidence in the system.
The issue affects more students in institutes of technology where a bigger proportion of students receive maintenance grants, he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
He said up to a quarter of the students in Dundalk IT who expected grants still haven’t received them. He added that colleges have been “very sympathetic” towards students in terms of registration. “We haven’t de-registered any students.”
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Susi said by now “virtually all completed grant applications have been processed by Susi”. That includes some 10,000 applications received after the August 31st, 2011 deadline. Failure on the part of students to provide necessary documentation has delayed most of the remaining payments, Susi said.
“Of the 27,606 that have been awarded 3,313 have yet to supply bank details and college confirmation of registration. As soon as Susi receives this information these payments will issue immediately.”