Receipts of expenditure history are not needed for the new Student Assistance Fund application system, Ciara O’Regan of the Student Support & Development Office said.
Confusion arose following an email sent out by the Finance Office on the 5th of November saying, “Due to the large volume of applications we expect to start contacting students in the coming weeks looking for additional data if required”.
The Student Assistance Fund receive EU contribution, and EU auditors decided that this year’s funding will no longer need receipts as a requirement for the application process.
O’Regan said, “Students are now giving me their bank statements that are accurate, correct to their documentation and their SUSI letter or their P60 or whatever it is. From that information I am able to tell if whether this student is using it (the funding) correctly or not.”
Despite the redundancy of the need for receipts, O’Regan is still looking for roughly around 10 per cent of applicants to provide receipts due to the large volumes and for their own insurance policy.
She explained, “I will just email a random 10 per cent of people and ask for receipts, just to make sure, God forbid, if an auditor did come in, we have a random selection of receipts to provide to them because I am a little nervous of the non-receipt thing too.”
The Student Assistance Fund helps students in financial difficulty through college and ease the financial pressure.
Last year, O’Regan believes the average funding per student was roughly around the €500 mark, and this year they hope to bump that up to €600, despite the large number of applicants which she estimates to be 1,150 people.
The volume of students is high due to the DCU amalgamation, but the new digital process has helped because the online application format is “more efficient and actually safer,” O’Regan said.
People who missed out on the application deadline, or failed to receive the grant following this month’s evaluation process can apply again in January, on a date to be confirmed.