Sinn Féin education spokesperson calls SUSI officials to Oireachtas Committee
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has today secured cross-party agreement for a meeting between officials from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and the Oireachtas Education Committee, which will take place in special session next Tuesday 13 November 2012.
The Cork North Central TD has also submitted a motion requesting that Education Minister Ruairí Quinn come before the Dáil and explain how his department is responding to the growing crisis resulting from serious flaws in the new online system for processing student grants. Two months into the new academic term thousands of students have still to receive without payment of their fees.
Deputy O’Brien said: “The serious flaws within the SUSI online system has now reached crisis point, with thousands of unprocessed grant applications causing considerable hardship for students across the State.
“I have personally dealt with a number of students who face extreme financial difficulties, with some seriously considering dropping out of college because they have not received payment of their grants.
“It is unacceptable, that nearly two months into the first college semester, thousands of students are still awaiting payment of their grants. The implications for students and their families cannot be overstated and every effort must be made to resolve the problems that are preventing the processing and payment of third level fees.
“I welcome the fact that after raising this matter at today’s Oireachtas Education Committee meeting, there was cross-party support for my request that officials make themselves available to address a special sitting of the Committee next Tuesday.
“This reflects the seriousness of the crisis, and I have also put down a Motion in the Dáil requesting that Minister Quinn comes before the House and explain what his Department is doing to resolve matters.
“Every day that passes without this backlog in applications being resolved is causing worry and hardship for students who have been left without even the minimum of financial assistance because of serious flaws in a system that was supposed to be a more efficient way of processing grant applications. As the situation continues to worsen, the Minister and his Department officials have serious questions to answer.”
Note to editors: Below is the wording of the Motion requesting Minister Quinn answers questions of the SUSI online grant system submitted today (7 November) by Deputy Jonathan O’Brien.
That Dáil Eireann calls on the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, to make a statement to the Dáil in response to the problems arising from serious flaws within the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) online system for processing student grants so that the Dáil may have an opportunity to debate the plight of thousands of students who are awaiting payment of their third level grants, which has resulted in serious financial hardship for students and is leading to a situation where many are considering dropping out of college.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Gerry Adams, Mary Lou, McDonald, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Michael Colreavy, Seán Crowe, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Sandra McLellan, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Jonathan O'Brien, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín