Thursday, 25 October 2012

Serious delays in new SUSI system leaves 1338 Wicklow student grants in limbo

Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has reacted angrily at figures
he has obtained which shows that of the 1861 student grant
applications made by Wicklow students to the new online service,1338
applications are being processed only 442 have had a decision made and
81 have not even been downloaded for assessment. Cllr Brady has said
the SUSI online processing of student grants is clearly failing after
his party colleague Jonathan O'Brien received a response to a
parliamentary question from the Education Minister which confirms that
52,430 grant applications are still being processed nationally.

Cllr Brady said “ There are serious problems with the new system that
was introduced for processing student grants and it has resulted in
many Wicklow students being left in limbo and their college places in
jeopardy. The new SUSI on-line system was supposed to make the process
of applying for a grant a good deal easier but regrettably, there have
been serious flaws which have resulted in delayed payments, poor
communication and inadequate responses to applications and document

Cllr Brady continued “The minister’s response confirms that there are
1338 applications from Wicklow still being processed by the new system
despite the fact that we are nearly in November.  Of the more than
65,000 applications received nationally by the new system decisions
have been made on just over 12,000 and just over 3,000 have been
awarded, here in Wicklow just 442 decisions have been made on 1861
applications. 81 applications from Wicklow have not even been
downloaded for assessment".

The Wicklow Councillor went onto say "I have been contacted by a large
number of students from Wicklow who are at wits end waiting on the
grants to come through, their parents have had to try scrap together
the funds to try pay the increased registration fees to ensure the
places were secured. Students and their families have been left in
dire straits by the failings of the new online system"

Cllr Brady concluded “The Minister must introduce a clear tracking
system that would enable students to know what stage applications are
at. A better designed more user friendly website would also help and
resources need to be found to improve the briefing and training of
Help-desk staff who are doing their best under difficult
circumstances. This new system was supposed to improve the processing
of third level applications, it took over from County Council which up
to now had responsibility, but a flawed system is resulting is huge
delays and added headaches".

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