Wednesday, December 19, 2012
For Immediate Publication
The Department of Education has announced a €3million once-off allocation for the Student Assistance Fund. However, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has warned that this will not be enough to prevent students dropping out of college. The exceptional allocation comes as thousands of first-time grant applicants are left waiting for assistance from SUSI, the grant awards agency.
The SAF is an emergency fund for students who require urgent financial assistance.
While this allocation is welcome, it must be noted that the SAF requires €12million to meet the increased demand being placed on it by more applications.
The Minister must commit to providing adequate resources to the SAF.
Colleges across the country are reporting unprecedented demand for emergency assistance, as families struggle to cope with the increasing cost of college. Students in NUI Maynooth received an email this week notifying them that no SAF payments would be made in the second term due to the fund being exhausted by Christmas.
The allocation announcement comes after talks between USI President John Logue, the HEA and the Department of Education.
John Logue, President of the Union of Students in Ireland said:
“This announcement, while welcome, comes after a Budget that increased fees by €250 and cut the income threshold by 3%. Both measures will affect thousands more students than today’s announcement will help. The Minister knows this, just as he knows that the SAF requires €12million to meet the demand currently being placed on it.
USI is calling on the Minister to commit to providing adequate resources for the SAF at a time when it faces unprecedented demand. This fund is an emergency option for students on the brink of dropping out. If it runs out of money, so do they.”
For more information contact USI Media and Communications Executive, Ronan Costello, on 085-1164263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org