Third Level Students can look forward to a much improved grant system

New measures will result in less financial pressure on students and their families.

Third level students can finally look forward to a more efficient grant system which will relieve financial pressure on them and their families, Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell has stated today (Wednesday). This follows confirmation from the Department of Education that a single grant awarding authority will be established in 2012.

“At the start of every academic year I receive numerous queries from families and student unions regarding the long delays in processing grant allocations. Students can end up waiting for up to a full term before they can access their grant payments.

“Under the current system, the assessment and payment of third level education grants is a matter for local VECs, of which there are 66 around the country. This means that the timing of payments varies widely between all 66 VECs, and depends on variables such as volume of applications and staffing resources.

“Following a Parliamentary Question on this matter which I posed to Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn,TD , I have been informed that the Minister is moving ahead with plans to introduce a single grant awarding authority (City of Dublin VEC) from 2012. This will operate on a transitional basis, accepting all new applications for the 2012/13 academic year.

“This means that students can look forward to significant improvements to the student grant schemes. In addition, the Department of Education will at the same time continue to roll out the online grants application system and the payment of grants to students into their bank accounts.

“In these straitened times, students and parents are particularly reliant on grant payments. In the past, students had the opportunity to work part time jobs to support them through college but many of these jobs are no longer available.

“I am confident that the creation of a single grant awarding authority will provide for a more efficient service for students and will result in students and their families being under less financial pressure as they go through college.”