In a recent statistical document released to Aontú by the Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, it was revealed that over 2,050 students have had their SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) grant withdrawn from them.
Meath Live can reveal that 77 students from Co Meath and 29 students from Co Westmeath have been affected. Navan based Cllr, Emer Tóibín has branded this as ‘cruel’, especially since we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
Tóibín has vowed to raised this at this week’s meeting of Meath County Council. She stated that “every year our offices make a number of representations to SUSI on behalf of students experiencing issues with grant application and renewal. In the past year it has become very evident to me that the number of students in Meath encountering issues with the system is on the increase”.
Tóibín claimed the reasons given to her by Minister Harris for why these students have been withdrawn are “pathetic”. One reason was students who repeat a year in college, are considered as ‘not progressing in education’.
There have been many cases of SUSI incorrectly deeming applicants as ‘qualified’ for the grant and then withdrawing that funding upon review. Tóibín states that this is cruel, “SUSI made the mistake, not the students”.
Tóibín fears that we are going to see “students queuing up at airports in droves like we saw during the last recession”. Ireland has the second highest 3rd level education fees in Europe.
Tóibín calls on SUSI to reconsider their “conservative and harsh approach for the duration of this pandemic”. She also calls on Minister Harris to “provide a progress-update on the government’s reform plans