Thursday, May 19, 2011

Changes to the grant system will mean less stress for students

New measures will result in less financial pressure on students and their families.
Third level students can at last look forward to a more efficient and student friendly grant system which will relieve financial pressure on them and their families, Fine Gael TD for Meath East Regina Doherty has stated today (Thursday). This announcement follows confirmation from the Department of Education that a single grant awarding authority will be established in 2012.
“As soon as the Leaving Cert results are out there are numerous enquiries from families of students and the students themselves attending third level regarding the grant system and how they might access it? When a student establishes if they are entitled to grants they can, in some instances, be waiting a full term to receive their grant payments due to delays in the process. This delay completely nullifies the purpose behind the grant system in my opinion.”
“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 issues such as volume of applications and staffing resources.
The Minister for Education, Rurai Quinn, has announced that he will move ahead with plans to introduce a single grant awarding authority from 2012 onwards. The City of Dublin VEC will be designated as the single grant awarding authority. This change will operate on a transitional basis accepting all new applications from 2012/2013 academic year. The 66 awarding bodies currently in operation will continue to process grants for 2011/2012 academic year.
It is envisaged by the Department of Education, that in the next few years that there will be one grant awarding body, all students will be able to apply online for maintenance grants and the current system of collecting grant cheques will be abolished with the monies being transferred directly into student bank accounts.
“The proposed changes to the grant system are very welcome. It is of the utmost importance that we make third level education as accessible to as many young adults as possible and making the grant system more streamlined and easier to navigate is one element of this.”

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