Students grants system must be simplified – Crowe
Speaking today in support of the Union of Students of Ireland's protest outside the Dáil over the student grants debacle, Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD said the complex system of grants administration needs to be simplified urgently. Deputy Crowe said there should be no more procrastination from the Minister.
The Dublin South-West TD said, "I have received many cases from worried and frustrated students trying to sort out their grants, being faced by layer upon layer of bureaucracy. The fact that there are currently 66 bodies responsible for receiving and processing student grant applications results in a complex and confusing web for students to try and navigate. This maze-like structure results in delays which are causing students to borrow and go into dept to pay for their fees or even drop out of college. Some students who have contacted me have been waiting for months for their grants to come through, this is unacceptable.
"Last December I questioned the Minister for Education Mary Hanafin regarding the proposed Student Support Bill, legislation which is promised to introduce a single unified scheme of maintenance grants for students in higher education, to make late payments a thing of the past, to ensure a speedy reply for students who have applied and an appeals procedure for students for the first time. The Minister stated then that the Bill was then at an advanced stage and that she hoped to publish the Bill in early 2007. Still, as of yet, there has been no action, with a chaotic summer in store for students if this grants mess is not sorted out in time.
"The complex system of student grants administration needs to be simplified as a matter of urgency. There should be no more procrastination from the Minister." Críoch