Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has slated the fact that thousands of students have still not received grants from SUSI despite it being entitled to them and it being weeks from Christmas.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“This government told us that SUSI would answer all of the problems of administering the grant system. Yet, less than a fortnight from Christmas thousands of students have still not received their payments.
“I have received figures that show 3,217 students had not received their grants as of the 1st of December. As SUSI has absolutely no emergency payment system and only transfers money on the third Friday of the month, these students will still not have received any payment today.
“SUSI have blamed 600 of these students for providing incorrect banking details and the rest are students who are applicants for whom the registration confirmation is awaited from their colleges prior to being approved for payment.
“This is simply untrue. I have been contacted by students who were registered months ago but have not received a payment.
“The truth is many of these 2,600 students have not been paid due to SUSI making a mess of things themselves.
“I have heard from students who are now receiving assistance from St. Vincent de Paul to make ends meet because of the sheer incompetence of some parts of SUSI.
“The days of students waiting months on end for grant payments are supposed to be gone, and yet despite Ministerial claims that this would be a great structure, here we are in the same situation.
“It is simply unacceptable to leave students in a position where they have to go and ask for help from St. Vincent de Paul for help to pay an ESB bill and keep the lights on over Christmas.”
Note to editor:
• A student in financial difficulty who has still received no payment from SUSI and has had to go to St. Vincent de Paul is willing to speak on this. Contact details available.
• Parliamentary questions containing information copied below.
Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To the Minister for Education and Science
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students who had been awarded grants from Student Universal Support Ireland but not yet received a payment from SUSI as of 1 December, 2013..
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 10th December, 2013.
Reference Number: 52732/13
Minister Ruairí Quinn
Officials in my Department have been informed by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that 3,217 applicants were awarded a grant but not yet in payment as at 1 December 2013. Over 600 of these applicants are not in payment due to lack of bank details or incorrect bank details entered by the applicant. The balance of students awaiting payment are recently awarded applicants for whom the registration confirmation is awaited from their colleges prior to being approved for payment.
The Deputy will be aware from his visit to SUSI that, when an applicant is awarded a grant, a verification file is sent to the applicant's college to confirm registration. This process takes a maximum of 10 working days.