The Government has launched a new student grant awarding authority entitled Student Universal Support Ireland (SUIS) allowing students to apply for grant applications through a central online system. The SUIS aims to streamline the application process thereby avoiding the shortcomings associated with the previous grant system.
The system will be run by the City of Dublin VEC, chosen following an expression of interest process.
Students will fill in the application form online once they have decided to attend college in the coming academic year. They are not required to state their choice of college course enabling applications to be processed faster and prevents delays in payment from occurring, one of the major problems with the previous system.
As Minister Ruairí Quinn TD said today: “Many students have had to wait for lengthy periods for their grants in the past and faced undue hardship as a result of these delays. Now, once they are approved, they will receive monthly electronic transfers into their bank accounts during the academic year.”
An added benefit of the online application form is that the mandatory fields prevent incomplete applications from being made. Students also receive preliminary approval once submitting their application and following this will be asked to submit any further documentary evidence required to complete their application over the coming months. This includes a letter from the college confirming their place once it has been received.
Minister Quinn praised the new system calling it “an excellent example of public sector reform”. It has, he announced, created an easier application process for students and a more efficient and cost-friendly service for the tax payer: it is estimated that the SUIS will save the taxpayer €5m once the transition is complete.
The Minister encouraged students wishing to attend college for the 2012/2013 academic year to start the application process now: “Now that the system is up and running I would call on students who will be starting college in the autumn or those who are beginning new courses to apply on-line as soon as they can.”
The SUIS replaces the previous system whereby grant applications were made to one of 33 VECs and 33 local authorities nationwide. At the launch, CEO of the CDVEC, Jacinta Stewart, said the main purpose of the SUIS was to “provide students with a better service and faster payments.”