A survey carried out by The College View has found that of the 47% of students who applied for a maintenance grant this year, 42% have received their first payment.
A further 17% have received a letter confirming they will receive a grant but have yet to receive a payment, 27% have been asked to provide further documentation for their application while 15% have had no contact from the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)/awarding local authority and received no payment.
One student told The College View if they don’t hear from the SUSI by Christmas they will have to drop out of DCU.
Many students had complaints about the grant system. One student commented: “The grant system is a disgrace. In my opinion everyone should be entitled to an education grant. It should not be means tested.”
Some students felt the grant is abused by some recipients: “Lots of people seem to get grants and take it as a free ride which isn’t fair on those who need it and work hard for it. The grant should be conditional on results so that people aren’t just doing courses to have a good time at the expense of those who really want & need to go to college.”
Ailish Logue, a first year Contemporary Culture and Society student said some students who get a grant spend it on things like nights out.
One student called for the grant application process to be overhauled: “The grants organisation should give out application forms when the CAO is out, giving students more time to apply and for them to assess applications so they can be handed out. They should also have a better customer service as some of the employees you talk to come across as quite rude when you’re only trying to get information on your application form.”
Another student agreed: “I think the current system of grant allocation is abysmal and I think it needs a radical overhaul. I also think some of the staff working in the local councils, dealing with the grant applications need serious retraining in dealing with people and some of them need to be replaced completely.”