TD calls for patience as students still await grants

Local Labour TD Ann Phelan has called for people to be patient with the new SUSI grant system, which has left tens of thousands of students all over the country still awaiting decisions, let alone the actual grants.

Local Labour TD Ann Phelan has called for people to be patient with the new SUSI grant system, which has left tens of thousands of students all over the country still awaiting decisions, let alone the actual grants.

Both Deputy Phelan and her Government colleague Fine Gael Deputy John Paul Phelan had earlier in the year lauded the new system, which promised to make the application process easier and end the delays faced by students. But this has thus far not proven the case.

“We have to admit there have been teething problems,” said Deputy Ann Phelan.

“But overall, I think this system will work. I have asked the minister to consider having someone on an online helpdesk or on the phone to talk to people.

“I would also ask colleges to take a step back and not put pressure on people – they know the students who will qualify for grants.”

Last June, Deputy John Paul Phelan said he hoped that the waiting game would now be over and that the hardship suffered by students as a result of delays would be a thing of the past. Attempts to contact the Fine Gael TD last week for comment were unsuccessful.

Minister for Eduaction Ruairi Quinn has formally apologised for the situation. But local councillor Andrew McGuiness said this wouldn’t mean much to struggling students.

“Hundreds of local students are in limbo in relation to their college grant applications and do not know if they will be able to continue in third level education, as they simply cannot afford to,” he said.