DOZENS OF POSTGRADUATE students have received SUSI grants in error, and the organisation has said they could ‘seek to recover’ the funds.
65 students have received letters from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) indicating that their applications for grants in the academic year 2012/2013 will now be re-assessed once further details have been received.
“If you decide not to be re-assessed as a dependent student”, the letter reads, “we must inform you that we will have to implement a recovery process in order to recoup the cost of fees from you that were paid to your institution in respect of the 2012/13 academic year.”
However, in a statement the organisation state that “this is a future step and none of these students have been asked to repay their grant at this stage, pending their response to SUSI’s invitation to them to be reassessed”.
The error arose from students being classed as “independent”, where the income of the applicant and their spouses’/cohabitants’ are accessed, when they should have been accessed as “dependent”, where the income of parents or guardians is taken into account.
In some cases this was due to the student completing forms incorrectly, but for others it was due to SUSI miscalculating the date they first entered third level education.
In a statement, SUSI said that students must “be assessed on the dependent status they had if they entered higher education for the first time when they were under the age of 23″.
The organisation confirmed that following an audit 65 students have received these letters, less than one per cent of the 40,000 grants awarded.