Connaughton meets with SUSI officials

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The difficulties being experienced by parents all across County Galway in relation to the administration of third level grants by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) were highlighted to SUSI officials by Deputy Paul Connaughton during a meeting at SUSI headquarters in Dublin last week.

‘In recent months, I have been contacted by hundreds of parents and students all across county Galway who are experiencing difficulties in relation to the newly centralised system. Given the volume of problems being experienced, a meeting was arranged at SUSI headquarters during which the problems being encountered were discussed and assurances sought in relation to next year’s processing of grants.

‘Lack of communication is one of the most commonplace problems, and also the fact that details sought on income and expenditure for self-employed people, including farmers, were not clear.  I was also contacted by a number of parents where two or more children were in college and there was no link-up in the system between the siblings.

‘Many students were also being given the adjacent rate of grant when they were entitled to the non-adjacent rate, which caused huge difficulty for many families.

‘Unfortunately, the SUSI system has already failed some students, for example a student in Corofin who had to drop out of college because of lack of funds, but who three months later received a letter telling him that he had qualified for the grant.

‘With so many families struggling to make ends meet on a daily and weekly basis, these delays are often a bridge too far for these families and college authorities are only too aware of the high number of students who are being forced to drop out because the money simply isn’t available to sustain them while their grant is being sorted out.

‘I know from that meeting that a lot of changes have now been put in place to ensure that next year’s process is much smoother. Unfortunately that will be too late for many of this year’s applicants and their families and I am continuing to work with families across the county whose applications have yet to be finalised or are going through the appeals process.’