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Student grant backlog almost cleared (but 21k told applications were incomplete)

New figures show SUSI is onow dealing with just 619 applications, down from a high of 55,000.

Image: Student grants image via Shutterstock

THE HUGE BACKLOG of students forced to wait months before receiving their student grant has been almost completely cleared, with just 619 applications left to be processed.

At its peak, 55,000 applications were still waiting for a decision as the newly-introduced allocation system SUSI struggled to cope.

However despite the small number of remaining applications to be processed, 21,095 applications have been marked as incomplete – meaning many students may still have to resubmit details or application forms, five months after term began in most third level institutions, if they are to receive a grant. Some students who abandoned their grant application form were still treated as applicants, which was part of the reason blamed for the delay in processing.

Students’ unions around the country began handing out boxes of goods to students who were struggling financially as they waited for their grants to be processed, while one, Athlone IT, set up a soup kitchen to provide food for students who needed food.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn told the Dáil that there will be external review of SUSI’s business processes over the coming weeks to improve the system for the next academic year.

The figures show of 67,352 applications, 46,257 contained all the necessary documentation. Of these, just over 29,000 were awarded while 16,000 were accepted.

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Ruairí Quinn allocated an additional €3 million to the Student Assistance Fund, which helps students who are experiencing severe financial hardship, this month in a bid to help students who may be suffering due to late or non-payment of their grant.

Photos: Students’ unions hand out food bags as grant crisis continues >

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Christine Bohan

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