Thousands of university students have received notice that their SUSI payments will be delayed to October 9th as opposed to the usual September start date. This two week delay has left many financially stranded as they are still expected to pay accommodation deposits or a full months’ rent before SUSI issues its first instalments.
Speaking to The College Tribune, a University College Dublin (UCD) law student who has been receiving SUSI payments for the last year and is due to receive them again this coming year expressed their dismay. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous has said that their “first [(rent] instalment is due on September 10th, almost a full month before SUSI is set to release any payments”. This student also noted that they were “relying on SUSI in order to pay this” and hopes that if the payment dates cannot be moved up that UCD will accept a delay in the payments they receive from some students this year, as many will now be in the same situation.
Other students also expressed concern that, if landlords or colleges fail to accept a rescheduling in payment for students who solely rely on SUSI, there is a possibility that this delay could leave students looking for new accommodation extremely late in the year.
In a recent press statement, Senator Annie Hoey, Labour Spokesperson for Further and Higher Education has called for the grant payment to be brought forward to the beginning of September. Senator Hooey notes that she has been “contacted by many students” who have detailed that they are “taking out loans to bridge the gap between starting college and when their first SUSI grant package comes in”. She also recognises that “the start of college is already terse” and that there are students that have “taken a severe financial hit and loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis” which compounds this additional stress.
On their Twitter page, SUSI have stated that the delay is a result of colleges not reopening until the end of September/beginning of October, and “for a student to receive payment they must be registered with their college and the college must confirm the registration with SUSI”. In order to provide for this, SUSI have set the first payment date as the 9th of October.
Casey Conway – Reporter