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Widening access as much as possible must be the result of a new review of the Student Grant Scheme announced today by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, according to the Union of Students in Ireland.

Welcoming news of a wide-ranging review of the grants operated by SUSI, USI has called for thorough engagement with stakeholders including students and their representatives.

USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said: “USI has been campaigning for years for a full review of the SUSI support scheme. SUSI is a vital part of ensuring students have access to third level education but at the moment it does not fully meet the needs of students. So we welcome this much-needed announcement today. It is vital now that the review hears the student voice as much as possible and engages with all stakeholders so that it gets a full picture of where the current grant scheme is lacking and how it can be improved to fully meet the needs of students.”

In partnership with the Irish Secondary Students’ Union, USI made a submission to the Terms of Reference for the review and the union believes the review has the potential to get to the centre of the issues.

Lorna said: “This review will look at all elements of SUSI including eligibility criteria, which has been one of USI’s key asks for a number of years. It will also look at the levels of financial support provided and USI will continue to campaign to ensure these are in line with the cost of living, as per our current Education for All campaign. We welcome this announcement, but this really must be more than a paper exercise and we will continue to lobby to ensure this is a meaningful process. However, as the findings of review will not be published until summer 2021, it is important that steps are taken in the meantime to support widening access and broad supports for students currently in the system and due to enter next September.”

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