The public will have a chance to voice their opinions surrounding SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) during its open consultation.
SUSI has sparked many conversations throughout the years as applicants who were marginally over the income threshold to obtain the grant were rejected.
The review will look at eligibility criteria, income thresholds, the maintenance grant, rates of grant and cost implications of making changes to the present rates and will benchmark the student grant system in Ireland against other EU states, among other things.
Caitriona Dunne, a recipient of SUSI, said: “I think it’s really unfair that only certain people get the SUSI grant. I think every college student deserves to get some support from the government.
People who are currently barely over the income threshold should be able to appeal their cases and get the grant.”
Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris announced the opening of the Student Grant Scheme on Thursday, April 1st.
This year, a number of changes have been made to the scheme.
Postgraduates from low-income households meeting the qualifying criteria may be eligible to have tuition fees paid to a maximum of €6,270, as well as receiving the special rate maintenance grant of €5,915.
The income threshold for postgraduate students also expanded from €31,500 to €54,250 and the fee grant contribution will increase from €2,000 to €3,500.
Leaving Certificate students who received predicted grades in 2020 and received an improved CAO offer after sitting their Leaving Cert exams later in the year will receive a deferred college offer to start their course in 2021/2022.
Students who have started the first year of a course and then become entitled to a higher CAO offer and choose to accept it the following academic year will still have the first year on the new course eligible for free fees and SUSI funding.
Kaja Natanek, studying Actuarial Maths at DCU, told the College View that “income itself is an ambiguous indicator of how much money parents actually have to give their child. If the income is €25,000 (just above the €24,500 threshold) after paying two tuitions for your children, there is around €13,000 left.
This barely covers the annual average rent for a family of four. So being a bit over the threshold is the difference between being able to pour all your time and effort into your degree and overworking yourself at the cost of your potential.”
The new Benefit Payment for 65-year-olds who have ceased employment and who satisfy PRSI contribution conditions that were introduced by the Department of Social Protection in February will be included as an eligible payment for the special rate of grant.
Submissions to the SUSI review should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with “SUSI Review Submission” in the subject line.