Students from Dublin least likely to get third-level grants
72% of CAO applicants in Longford get SUSI award compared with 46% in Dublin
There is research showing that PAYE workers have more difficulty in obtaining student grants for their children compared with farmers and the self-employed. File photograph: Getty Images
College applicants from Dublin are much less likely to get a student grant for higher education than their counterparts in rural Ireland, latest figures show.
Data obtained by The Irish Times from Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) shows that 71.5 per cent of CAO applicants in Longford last year got a means-tested student grant.
This compares to just 45.6 per cent of applicants in Dublin.
Students in Kildare fared little better, with a 48.4 per cent success rate, while their peers in Wicklow had a 49.2 per cent success rate.
Susi is planning to conduct research into the breakdown of awards after it has finished processing this year’s applications.
The regional difference could be attributed to higher incomes in Dublin and the east coast compared to the rest of the country.
However, there is previous research showing that PAYE workers have more difficulty in obtaining student grants for their children compared to farmers and the self-employed.
Self-employedHigher Education Authority
Former minister for education Ruairí Quinn drew up proposals that would have seen all assets above a certain threshold considered in means testing but Fine Gael blocked it from being brought to Cabinet.
For the academic year, 2014/15, there were 738 new applicants in Longford to Susi and 505 received a grant, an award rate of 68.4 per cent. This compared to 8,030 out of 13,308 new applicants in Dublin, an award rate of 60.3 per cent.
These figures under-represent the disparity between counties, however, as many school-leavers self-select against applying to Susi on the grounds that they are unlikely to meet the means test criteria.
A more accurate reflection of the rate of success among students in applying for a grant is comparing the number of awards with the number of students who applied to higher education courses from each county.
This is the second year The Irish Times has analysed the counties with the highest number of successful Susi applicants.
The data shows that 64.4 per cent of applicants last year received an award compared to 57.9 per cent in 2013/14.
Graham Doyle, head of communications and customer service at Susi said there was no obvious reason for this rise but “potentially it could be down to incomes dropping year on year”, leading to more families qualifying.
Earlier this year, Labour TD Joanna Tuffy challenged the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to take a stronger stance on inequities in the system, saying there were instances of doctors getting grants for their children and bus drivers failing to do so.