Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Ceisteanna (32)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

32. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the Student Universal Support Ireland application system was not available online earlier than its launch in May when many sixth year students had broken up for the school year; and if he will respond to the view that having the system available earlier would have allowed counsellors additional time to help students with their college applications. [32221/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

This year the online application system, which included a new online renewal system, opened on 20 May 2013, three weeks earlier than last year. This earlier opening date provided first-time applicants and renewal students with the opportunity to apply earlier than in previous years. Student Universal Support Ireland aims to build on this progress and move towards opening the system significantly earlier in future years. I am informed by SUSI that the contribution made by Guidance Councillors in the student grant application process, particularly in the Leaving Certificate year, is invaluable. A senior representative of the Institute of Guidance Councillors sits on the SUSI stakeholders' Advisory Group. Their presence on this group provides an opportunity for the views and experience of guidance councillors to feed into the strategic planning for the continued development of the grants process.