18% of SUSI applications rejected

Over 100,000 applications for the SUSI grant were received this year

The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) has awarded grants to 75,945 applications for the academic year 2020/21 to date, with a further 18,486 being “refused/cancelled”, Minister Harris has confirmed.

SUSI opened on 23 April 2020 for applications for the 2020/21 academic year with

94,431 (94%) out of the 100,231 applications received having been issued with a decision.

According to Minister Harris, as of November 16, of the remaining 5,800 applications, 3,861 are with students and SUSI is waiting for documentation to be submitted.

1,607 are still with SUSI for assessment and 332 are currently having appeals reviewed.

Harris added: “SUSI has achieved and exceeded all MFA Targets in advance of the agreed date and have sufficient staff to complete the remaining applications.” 

In October, Labour Spokesperson on Higher Education Senator Annie Hoey said that students who were in receipt of the PUP this year were put at a disadvantage in their SUSI applications, as the grant application process did not account for government support payment. 

This comes months after the Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI) called for more PUP support, as some students faced financial hardship during the pandemic. With many students working remotely for this academic year, USI called for support including better WiFi connection and better access to devices for students.

According to a recent report by the Department of Public Expenditure, students from Trinity, University College Dublin (UCD) and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) are the least likely to receive grant-aid, with only 5-25% being entitled to receive SUSI grants.

The report showed that over half of students at institutes of technology receive SUSI grants, compared to about one third of students studying in universities.

In July of this year, USI President Lorna Fitzpatrick called for extra financial supports to be made available for students this academic year, through SUSI, the Student Assistance Fund and “other funds that support access”.

The report by the Department of Public Expenditure showed the state is spending around €360 million per year to a total of 77,000 students in further and higher education.

According to the Irish Times, the SUSI income assessment process excludes non-recurring sources of income such as overtime payments and excludes the value of any assets, which is assessed as means in many other government subsidies.

The fields of study with the highest share of grant recipients are arts and humanities, business, administration and law, health and welfare, and natural sciences.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.