Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called on the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan to use her position and intervene directly with SUSI to fast track payments due to thousands of students waiting for their grants.

Crowe said that the Government’s Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI ) are again this year trapping students on their grants roll out ‘merry-go-round.’

Deputy Seán Crowe said;

“Every year since SUSI was established, thousands of students have been left in limbo for months while awaiting the system to process claims. Every year we are told the problem is resolved and every year students and their families are left waiting for their education grants.

“Out of a total of 103,125 applications received this year, 15,500 are still awaiting processing. Thousands of students, just a handful of weeks away from Christmas, have no real idea if they’ll be receiving any grant assistance this year. Delays mean difficulties and hard pressed students and their families will go without or try and make up the financial shortfall.

“57,451 applicants have now been processed, that is to be welcomed but 7,049 unfortunates still haven’t received any payments from SUSI. While it’s inevitable that there may be a handful who haven’t supplied correct details, it is a bit hard to believe that the majority of this pool of 7,049 students have somehow failed to pass SUSI on their bank details.

“This is a regular problem each year. The days of students waiting months on end for grant payments are supposed to be gone, but thousands of students  are trapped on a grants merry-go-round, going round in circles but going nowhere.

“It is simply unacceptable to leave students in a position where they have to go and ask for help from charities to pay an ESB bill, put food on the table, pay for accommodation, or simply keep the lights on over Christmas.

“I support the St. Vincent de Paul proposal that would see the current SUSI system reconfigured so it operates on the same timeline as the CAO system. This would help eliminate the current backward system and give greater financial stability to students going on to Third Level Education.

“These students need to be paid immediately. I am calling on the Minister Jan O’Sullivan to take cognisance of the genuine St Vincent De Paul proposal and immediately intervene directly with SUSI to fast track payments to the thousands of students still waiting for their grants.”