The newly appointed Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has issued a call for students to apply for SUSI grants for 2020/2021 by July 9th, if they have not done so already.
July 9th is the deadline for priority application for new applicants. This means that students who have not applied for the SUSI grant before will have their application prioritised if it is submitted before this date. The deadline for priority application for renewal applicants was June 11th.
Minister Harris has encouraged students to apply for the grant by this date, stating: “As Minister for Higher Education, I am committed to building an inclusive higher education system and SUSI grants are an excellent resource for eligible students to avail of.” He continued, “I also want to encourage any remaining students who think they might be eligible for support, to submit their online student grant applications to SUSI without delay; to ensure that they are processed as quickly as possible.”
Given the loss of income many people have experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Minister Harris has assured students that the grant scheme can accommodate for this. For students and their families who have lost income during the crisis, their application can be reassessed under the change of circumstances provision, as long as they can show that any change in income is likely to continue “for the duration of the approved course or for the foreseeable future.”
Minister Harris stated, “Covid-19 has caused significant disruption across the country and students have had to deal with the closure of colleges, and a disruption to their studies. I am conscious this pandemic has also resulted in a loss of income for many families and created a time of financial worry in many households. I want to assure people that there is scope to address loss of income as part of the grant scheme.”
In concurrence with Minister Harris, SUSI says that “student grant applications for academic year 20/21 will be assessed based on income earned in 2019. If a student or party to their application experiences a permanent change in circumstances relating to reckonable income or other criteria, they can apply to have their application assessed under the change in circumstances provision.”
Applications for the SUSI grant for the 2020/21 academic year opened on April 23rd. In a press release issued by SUSI on that date, they stated that in 2019 they received over 80% of applications before the priority processing date. As of now, they have received around 75,000 applications in 2020. SUSI stated that they received almost 96,000 applications for the academic year 2019-20, with over 76,000 students awarded funding. It is advised that, although it will still be possible to submit applications after the priority date, they will not receive the same priority attention as applications made before July 9th.
Isobel Dunne – Reporter