College Tribune

Independent UCD News

News

Mounting cost of SUSI failure

It has come to light that the IT system responsible for the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) fiasco cost the Department of Education almost €800, buy cialis 000.

Information submitted to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee from the Department of Education shows that €773,105 was spent on the IT system for SUSI, which was launched in June.

It had been initially promised that the new system would make the application process quicker and easier. Students were left disenchanted when thousands were left without payment with complaints being made about lost documentation and problems getting through to the help desk.

The €773,105 expenditure includes €400,000 spent on IT services including software development, €270,000 on equipment and infrastructure, which includes the server and storage and €30,000 on telephony.

A major fault with SUSI was it’s labelling as an online system. This was despite the fact that students had to send in up to twelve supporting documents by post. These documents were then scanned into the system, however there were numerous complaints made that documents had been lost, which required students to resend them.

The debacle saw many students having to wait until the last months of college before their grant applications were dealt with.

As the numbers applying through SUSI will be increasing next year – this year only first-time grant applicants applied through SUSI – concerns have been raised as to the ability of the system to cope with the increased numbers.

Dundalk Institute of Technology president Denis Cummins, speaking on RTE News in January, questioned its ability to manage the expanded role.

“If, in this first year when they are only dealing with one cohort of students, they had issues around capacity, how is that going to ramp up in future years? I think there’s a lot of work to be done to regain confidence in the system,” Mr Cummins told RTÉ News.

In a further twist, a company involved with SUSI, which is run by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (VEC), is now working on customer call services for the introduction of the property tax.

The Cork based firm, Abtran, operates the SUSI help desk. Their website includes a quote from Jacinta Stewart, CEO of County Dublin VEC, stating; “Our principle purpose is to provide students with a better service and faster payments.”

A review is to be launched into the failings of SUSI. Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil’s education spokesman, has queried why Abtran is now working on property tax services.

-James Grannell

LEAVE A RESPONSE

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *