College grant applications have seen a drop in compared to recent years, a total of 87,738 claims were made for support for fees and living expenses, which was 0.3% less than last year’s figure.
An increase in Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) applications was to be expected. When the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, in Budget 2017 announced that postgraduate students would once again be eligible for maintenance support.
In a statement made by Graham Doyle, SUSI head of communications, a rise in income may have led many to believe they might be above the income threshold in applying for financial aid: “While the Government decision on grants may make them more accessible for lower-income postgraduate students, incomes have also grown in recent years, so more people may have deemed themselves ineligible to apply”.
The number of applications received during last Thursday’s deadline saw 47,500 from new applicants while the remaining 40,200 were from applicants who had received assistance in the last academic year and were seeking assistance again for the upcoming year.
Of the 41,000 who have been provisionally approved for grants or full cost of fees , or both, 11,000 were among this year’s first-time applicants. The vast majority of these 11,000 are from among this year’s Leaving Certificate students.
Mr Doyle said:“This is really positive news and this number will only increase before the issuing of Leaving Certificate results and CAO offers in August. These students can then make a more fully informed decision when deciding if they are to accept their college offers,”.