This morning, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD urged students who have not yet applied for Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grants for the 2020/2021 academic year to do so before July 9.
On Saturday, Harris was appointed to the new ministerial position established under the new coalition government between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party.
The press release stated that new applicants to SUSI still have an opportunity to have their application prioritised if they submit their application before the deadline.
Minister Harris also reassured students that the grant scheme will be “flexible” and can address loss of income in households as a result of Covid-19.
Harris explained that students and their families who have experienced a fall in income can seek to have their application reviewed under the change of circumstances provision within the scheme, provided they can demonstrate that any change in income is “likely to obtain for the duration of the approved course or for the foreseeable future”.
The new government is expected to maintain student contribution charges at their current level, as well looking to develop a “long-term sustainable funding model” for higher level education, according to the draft programme for government approved by the three parties.
Minister Harris said: “As Minister for Higher Education, I am committed to building an inclusive higher education system and SUSI grants are an excellent resource for eligible students to avail of.”
“Covid-19 has caused significant disruption across the country and students have had to deal with the closure of colleges, and a disruption to their studies,” Harris continued. “I am conscious this pandemic has also resulted in a loss of income for many families and created a time of financial worry in many households.”
Harris added: “I want to assure people that there is scope to address loss of income as part of the grant scheme.”
The new programme made commitments to reviewing SUSI eligibility and adjacency rates and conducting an overall review of the SUSI scheme in the aftermath of Covid-19.
Harris stated: “I also want to encourage any remaining students who think they might be eligible for support, to submit their online student grant applications to SUSI without delay; to ensure that they are processed as quickly as possible.”
SUSI is currently accepting applications as usual from Irish students intending to study approved courses in the UK and from UK students intending to study in Ireland, as they can continue to avail of student grants if eligible.
The SUSI grant scheme opened on April 23.
Last year the grant scheme received 96,000 applications with 73,000 students receiving grant support.
To date SUSI has received 75,000 applications for the 2020/21 academic year so far.