ed serif;”>Less than 10% of UCD students who applied for a grant through the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) had confirmation that they’re grants were being officially processed in the first two lists of names released by the new grant scheme. Both lists arrived in a 2 week period following the end of UCD’s grace period, prescription 30th September, sildenafil restricting access to those students affected to facilities such as the library.
Only 1000 students, according to Shane Comer, UCDSU Education Officer, were confirmed to have gained approval from SUSI by the 16October. The fifth list of grant awarded students from SUSI, according to UCD’s Fee Homepage, was received Friday, 1 November 2012, neither UCD nor SUSI could be contacted at the time of publication to acquire the number of successful applications. However, according to the UCD site, “The five lists from SUSI to date detail a relatively small number of successfully awarded grant students”. Those who have been successful will receive according to UCD, an email “today [2 November] to notify them that their student fees account has been updated”. The Homepage also stated that “SUSI has confirmed that students on this list, where eligible, will receive grant maintenance on Friday, 9 November”.
Efforts have been made by all sides to help students waiting on grant approval to access necessary facilities. A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills stated that “In response to a request from the Department…the Higher Education Authority has written to all institutions requesting them to show flexibility and consideration, as most have done in the past, to students who may be awaiting a decision on their grant application and/or payment of grants for the academic year 2012/13”.
However, Mr Comer stated that following a meeting with SUSI representatives on the 16th October that he “left the meeting very underwhelmed with the performance so far. Both myself and UCD have been very disappointed with SUSI’s performance thus far.” Mr Comer went on to say that students on SUSI grants should not worry. “For students who are on the SUSI system it has been brokered that any students who are confident they will receive the grant from SUSI need only pay the student centre levy as it is not covered by the grant. No student who is on SUSI has nor will have their library access restricted because it is SUSI’s failings,” said Comer. All of which had been agreed following negotiations between UCD and the Education Officer two and a half weeks ago.
Regarding the equality of the 7 weeks grace (which begins once registration commences, until the September 30th) that UCD provides to students due to it affecting large quantities of students during the tougher economic circumstances, Mr Comer commented: “The cut off system is harsh…it is time UCD moved with the times and realised that late fee payments are going to happen and are unavoidable in some instances. This is for students who receive no grant. Students who have renewed their grant or have applied through SUSI and are confident they will receive it have not had library access restricted nor will they”.
By Matthew H. Farrelly