The Student grant process is too slow – says Clune

Cork Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune has highlighted that more than two months into the college year of 5,926 applications in Cork for Higher Education Grants only 713 have been awarded.

A further 1,837 of these applications have yet to be even processed. This information was released to Fine Gael this week from the Department of Education.

“Families with students in college who are entitled to a Higher Education Grant are being forced to borrow or allow their child drop out of college because of ongoing delays in the processing of these grants. Minister for Education Mary Coughlan’s response is to ignore the problem and do nothing.”

“Cork is one of the areas in the country worst hit by these backlogs. In Cork 5,926 students have applied for Higher Education Grants this year but just 713 have been awarded and a further 1,837 have yet to even be processed.”

“The four grant processing authorities in Cork are Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Cork City VEC and Cork County VEC and they have been flooded with applications but the Minister for Education has taken no steps to priorities the backlog. Families across Cork are now facing the financial consequences of this inaction.”

“According to figures released to Fine Gael Education Spokesperson Fergus O’Dowd from the Department of Education this week 59,557 students applied for the grant nationwide this year but 12,787 haven’t even had their application processed yet.

“A bureaucratic nightmare has been allowed to develop and this is at the heart of grant delays but Minister Coughlan continues to ignore this problem. Fine Gael has outlined in our ‘Reinventing Government’ document that we will create a new ‘one stop shop for all payments that would fast-track maintenance grant applications.”

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