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Slow grant payments causes restricted access to library for students

Library access has been restricted since last Monday for students who have not yet paid their registration fee.

A number of students who contacted the paper were annoyed that, because they hadn’t received their grant, they were unable to pay their fees and now can’t borrow books or use the laptop loan service.

Speaking to the College Tribune about the situation Shane Comer, UCD Students’ Union Education Officer, said the SU are “extremely disappointed” with the situation and that “students should not be punished for [the] delay in grants being processed”.

“The fact that they have applied for a grant shows their desire to be in Third Level education,” Mr Comer said.

He went on to lay the blame for the delay in the processing of grants firmly on the grant awarding authorities, including the county councils, VECs and the new online service, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI).

Michael Sinnott, Director of Administrative Services with UCD Registry said that this year, “all new grant applicants are being processed by SUSI…however, it would appear to be experiencing some first year challenges.” Mr Sinnott stated that UCD Registry had only received their first file from SUSI on Thursday of last week, substantially later than was expected. He went on to say that, “the number of students contained on the file is minuscule compared with the total number of students we expect to ultimately be awarded a SUSI grant.”

“The number of continuing students who are first time grant applicants is typically quite small but we are nonetheless aware that the individuals concerned are affected by the delays in processing.  We are currently reviewing the consequences of this unexpected SUSI development for our students; clearly the rate of processing of grant applications by SUSI is now having a serious impact.”

Also commenting on the situation Mr Comer said “it was greeted with such praise but unfortunately beneath the website and online registration the process of applications is still quite cumbersome.”

UCD Registry confirmed that continuing students who in previous years received the grant should not be affected by any delays as UCD typically presumes the grant is still valid.

-Ronan Coveny

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