Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien, TD, has said the failure of Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) to process outstanding third level grant applications is resulting in significant hardship for students.
He was responding to reports that students who had yet to receive their grants have had to survive on food parcels in order to remain in college.
Describing the situation “as completely unacceptable”, the Cork North Central TD said his office was being inundated with complaints from students who are still waiting to have their grant applications processed and paid.
He continued: “Nearly two weeks into the new year, the SUSI debacle has yet to be resolved and thousands of students are suffering real hardship as a result of a system that has failed utterly.
“It is all very well that today we have the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn reminding students an additional €3 million has been allocated to the Student Assistance Fund but more importantly, he needs to ensure adequate resources are provided to ensure the remaining backlog in third level grant payments are made immediately.
“It is scandalous that students are being forced to live on food parcels as a result of being denied payment of their maintenance grants through an online awarding body that was supposed to greatly improve what existed previously.
“From the start SUSI was under-funded and poorly resourced and as a consequence thousands of students have been living without a grant for over four months.
“Minister Quinn has serious questions to answer about this unmitigated disaster and I will be attempting to have this matter debated when the Dáil returns from recess next week.”
Note for Editors:
Deputy O’Brien has submitted the following for Topical Issues’ Debate:
To debate the on-going hardship being experienced by students arising from the failure of Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) to process outstanding third level grant applications.