ELIGIBILITY criteria for SUSI grant applications for those whose incomes have been affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be clarified by the Minister For Education, Limerick TD, Maurice Quinlivan has said.
He made his remarks as the SUSI grant application process opens today, April 23 and hundreds of thousands of workers have seen their incomes reduced due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Deputy Quinlivan said workers have had their incomes reduced “through no fault of their own” due to the virus and “many will struggle with the financial burden” of third-level education.
He said, “While we hope that the impact of this will be short lived for these workers and families, it is clear that many will struggle with the financial burden of sending children to third-level in a few short months.
“However, it appears that the Department of Education has made no provision for these families as the SUSI grant application process opens up and it appears that the Department will make a determination on grant applications based on incomes earned in 2019; ignoring the new reality for thousands of families.”
The Sinn Féin TD said the current SUSI application process allows change of circumstances to be taken into account “where the change is ‘permanent, or for the foreseeable future'”.
Deputy Quinlivan said, “I am calling on the Minister to clarify what arrangements are in place to support students from families that have seen a significant drop in income to meet the costs of third-level education for the new academic year.
“It is clear that the criteria applied in previous years is not fit for purpose and the Minister must take account of these realities to ensure that those who require financial support can access it.”