Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (677)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

677. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the number of letters and emails received regarding students that had issues with their SUSI grant applications in each of the past five years. [38743/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

The Student Grant Scheme is administered by the centralised national grant awarding authority SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), a business unit of CDETB (City of Dublin Education and Training Board), on behalf of the Department. The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for SUSI to determine.

If an individual applicant considers that he/she has been unjustly refused a student grant, he/she may appeal, in the first instance, to his/her awarding body. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down in writing by the awarding authority and remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his/her case, an appeal outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board.

Since the new Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science was established on 13 July 2020, I can confirm that my Department has received in excess of 300 emails in relation to SUSI grant applications and appeals.

The student grant scheme is a statutory based scheme and my Department has no role in awarding student grants it is a matter for the grant awarding authority.

Information in relation to student grant assistance is available from SUSI’s website, www.susi.ie. Students may contact SUSI’s Helpdesk with any queries in relation to their grant application or the appeals process by telephone 0761 087 874 or email support@susi.ie.

As part of a comprehensive customer service and communications strategy provided by SUSI, to ensure that all necessary avenues are open to applicants to receive the information they need, a dedicated email and phone line service is provided by SUSI for Oireachtas members. This was established to meet an identified need for applicants who choose to engage the assistance of their public representatives in making enquiries about their grant applications. Enquiries may be emailed direct to SUSI at oireachtas@susi.ie. The telephone number for the Oireachtas Helpdesk is 0761 088922 or 0761 088909.

It is not possible for SUSI to provide figures in relation to letters and emails received regarding students that had issues with their SUSI grant applications. Please note that when letters or emails are received by the SUSI Support Desk regarding issues that students have with their applications they are advised of the SUSI Formal Complaints Submission Process.

See below table for Formal Complaints received by SUSI in relation to each academic year from 2015/16 to 2020/21 (to date).

SUSI Formal complaints received

2015/16

156

2016/17

136

2017/18

132

2018/19

149

2019/20

120

2020/21

89 (to date)