Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Alan Farrell, has said that the introduction of an online application process for the third level student grant system is an example of how positive reform can be achieved through the centralisation of public services.
“This overhaul of the student grant application system is a good example of the public service reform that the Government is trying to achieve; saving funds through centralising processes in order to improve efficiency. These reforms have saved the taxpayer €5 million per year in revenue and has freed up administrative resources within the Department of Education.
“Up to this point, the assessment and payment of third level education grants was a matter for local authorities or VECs, of which there are 66 around the country. This means that the timing of the allocation varies between all 66, and depends on variables such as volume of applications and staffing resources.
“The inconsistency of allocation meant that it was impossible for students to plan their finances based on this funding, forcing them to either seek alternative means of support, or discouraging further education participation.
“The new centralised online system is an example of how we can improve the system and save money by using tools and technology that belong in the 21st century. I welcome the fast pace of reform that has been achieved since the Minister announced these reforms last year.
“I would urge the Department to continue its reform agenda for third level education by working with institutions to develop payment strategies, such as direct debit payments for annual fees, in a bid to ease financial pressure on parents and students which may provide a barrier to further education.
For more information please visit www.studentfinance.ie. If parents or students have any queries in relation to the application process or the student grant scheme they should contact the “SUSI Support Desk” by telephone at 0761 08 7874 or email email@example.com.”