Fifth of student grants not processed

 

Some 21 per cent of student maintenance grants have not been processed, Department of Education figures reveal.

The figures released to Fine Gael’s education spokesman Fergus O’Dowd show three months into the college year nearly 13,000 out of the almost 60,000 applications have not been processed.

Mr O’Dowd said some students are being forced to drop out of college as a result.

“Students are finding it impossible to make ends meet, are being threatened by colleges and are even dropping-out.”

He said although the registration fee is waived for grant recipients there are “concerns” that some colleges will be unaware an application has been made and will therefore threaten students with not being allowed to sit exams or attend classes until the fee is paid.

The grants are processed by both Vocational Education Committees (VEC) and local councils.

According to the figures the bodies with more than 50 per cent of applications to process include: Cork County Council (55); Co Dublin VEC (52); Kildare Co Council (52); Fingal Co Council (51); Limerick County Council (51) and Co Sligo VEC (50).