More than 150 Galway college students have had their SUSI grants withdrawn for this academic year.
Figures released by the Department of Further and Higher Education has revealed that 743 students who were initially awarded a SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) grant for this academic year have now subsequently had their grants withdrawn upon review.
Of the 743 students who had their grants withdrawn, 154 were from Galway and are currently studying in colleges and universities around the country.
According to the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, to date in the academic year 2002/21, SUSI has received 6,427 applications from students with Co. Galway as their home address. 4,800 of these applications have been awarded as eligible for funding.
A total of 154 students with home addresses in Co. Galway was initially assessed as eligible for funding for the academic year 2020/21 and have since become ineligible for funding.
SUSI is Ireland’s national awarding authority for all further and higher education grants. SUSI offers funding to eligible students, from school leavers to mature students returning to education, in approved full-time third-level courses.
The figures were released to Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín who said he’s been getting more calls than ever on the issue.
Mr Tóibín outlined the case of one particular student that had been in contact with him after losing a parent last year.
“The student took time out of college to care for his guardian before she died. He informed the college he was dropping out. However, the college failed to notify SUSI and kept seeking fees payments from SUSI.
“When applying for the grant this year, the student was told that not alone was he to be refused the grant, but that he was expected to pay back the fees they had paid last year. This amounted to thousands of euro, money which had never crossed his bank account,” he said.
Mr Tóibín has requested that the Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris provide the Dáil with an update on his plans to reform SUSI.
Pádraic Toomey, President of the NUIG Student Union, said: “I have been contacted by many students who have lost their SUSI grant. It is very disheartening for students to lose SUSI as some students might have only earned €50 more than the threshold allows.”
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