Opposition attacks student grant system as “abysmal”

Just over 3,000 students have been paid grants this term

The performance of the Education Minister in dealing with the controversy over the processing of grant applications has been described as “abysmal” by Fianna Fail.

The party is calling for more resources to be allocated to the new centralised agency tasked with processing grants.

Student Universal Support Ireland – known as SUSI – has come in for criticism over the failure to process thousands of maintenance grants.

Just over 3,000 new 3rd-level students have been paid their college grants this term.

SUSI revealed the figure to the Oireachtas Education Committee today.

The body also says it has only processed 20,000 of the 66,000 first-time applications it has received.

Minister admits there are problems

Fianna Fail has tabled a motion calling on the Education Minister to provide more staff and resources to the agency to ensure that students get their money.

Minister Ruairi Quinn says there are clearly problems with the system and he is urging colleges not to put any barriers in place for students experiencing delays.

While Fianna Fail spokesman Charlie McConalogue is harshly critical of the performance of the Minister.