Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (244)

Seán Fleming

Question:

244. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a joined-up approach between the Central Applications Office for third level education courses and the SUSI grants system because in some cases students apply for a course under the CAO only to find at a later date that it is not covered by a grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5439/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The SUSI application system facilitates students in applying for a grant before they have accepted a place in college or know the institution and course they will actually be attending. Therefore, it is not possible to give a specific indication at application stage as to course approval. A similar position pertains in relation to applying for a place on a course via the CAO system. As part of its communications strategy SUSI draws attention to the requirement that a student needs to be entering an approved full-time course in an approved institution. In addition, the SUSI website provides details in relation to approved colleges. I understand that for 2014, SUSI, in consultation with stakeholders, including the CAO, will continue to enhance communication and promote awareness among grants applicants regarding approved institutions and courses. For the 2013/14 academic year, SUSI, introduced a number of initiatives to improve the application and processing system. These included direct information sharing with Government bodies and other agencies including the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the CAO. A Service Level Agreement between SUSI and the CAO currently provides for the direct transfer of data from the CAO to SUSI in relation to final course acceptance details for applicants who opt to have their data transferred. SUSI is continuing to engage with relevant Government Departments and agencies to explore further options for co-operation as part of the on-going focus on work to continually improve the student grant system.