27 April 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Student Universal Support Ireland is better known as SUSI, and is the agency which processes applications for students grants
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan says the financial criteria used in the SUSI application process should be reviewed this year in light of the huge financial impact which the COVID-19 pandemic has had on family incomes.
Deputy Moynihan explained, “The SUSI application process opened last week, but the financial situation for many families will be radically different to last year. The application for the grant currently requires families to outline their earnings in previous years. However, the situation will be radically different this year as household incomes may have reduced dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The latest figures show that more than one million people are receiving some form of social welfare or COVID-19 related payment. The SUSI application process needs to be able to reflect this change in circumstance, otherwise, thousands of students will fail to qualify for a grant, despite their parents earning having dropped significantly. This could be the difference in a student being able to go on to third-level education or not.
“While I appreciate there is an appeals process, I believe it would be more beneficial and less of an administrative burden if the online application could be adapted to reflect current circumstances. This would avoid any delay in the approval of grants and prevent further financial distress for families who are already under pressure.
“I have written to the Education Minister to see what options are available to ensure that students are not penalised by the application process”, he concluded.