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Speedy delivery of grants crucial for students – Crowe

8 December, 2006

Sinn Féin's Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD today welcomed the Minister of Education Mary Hanafin's commitment to introduce new legislation in early 2007 that will ensure the timely delivery of grants to those who need them most. Minister Hanafin's commitment came in a reply to a parliamentary question posed by Deputy Crowe.

The Dublin South West TD said, "The current Grant system is ineffective, slow and maze-like. Around 40 per cent of third level students receive state support, but many find it difficult to navigate their way through the many grants and grant issuing bodies. Thirty-three local authorities and thirty-three Vocational Education Committees (VECs) deal with grants in an inefficient and overly complex system.

"I have received cases in which third level students, actually eligible for grants, have had to borrow from financial institutions to cope while their grants took up to four months to process. Some students from disadvantaged backgrounds have even been forced to drop out of college as their grants were not forthcoming.

"The Minister has assured me that the new Student Support Bill will make late payments a thing of the past and I welcome this. Some local authorities and VECs have let down students in administering their grants. Progressive reform in this area is long overdue to ensure students are not forced into taking drastic action and opting out of college altogether due to financial strain. I look forward to seeing this grants mess tidied up." Críoch

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