Deputy Niall Collins has blasted the Minister for Education over his handling of the Susi fiasco that has left 2,200 students without a grant as the college year draws to a close.
“Minister Quinn has presided over a complete shambles in Susi,” said Mr Collins.
All new applications for the academic year 2012/2013 were to be handled by the new centralised grant awarding body Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi). Previously all student grant claims were handled by the students local authority. Mr Collins says the body has completely failed in its remit to streamline the application process.
“This new centralised grant system was supposed to be more efficient and eradicate any delays in getting grants to the students who need them most. The exact opposite has happened. The reality has been a litany of mistakes and mismanagement, and Minister Quinn has failed to take charge to sort them out. We need a guarantee from the Minister that this won’t happen next year,” he said.
Mr Collins ascertained through parliamentary questions that Susi has yet to process 328 student applications and is in dispute with a further 1,900 over claims of incomplete documentation.
“The college year is nearly over. It is unacceptable that there are still thousands of students still waiting for a grant to support them through an academic year that is now coming to a close,” said Mr Collins.
“We are now well into May and students across the country are sitting their summer exams. It is unacceptable that there are still over 300 grant applications that haven’t been processed. Susi has also sought to blame over 1,900 for ‘incomplete documentation,” he added.
It is believed many students have had to give up third level education over the delays.