Decline in SUSI payments will limit access to education for many – Smith


Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, says the Minister for Education needs to explain why the number of students receiving SUSI grants is declining, while the number of students attending third level institutions is increasing.

 Deputy Smith commented, “It seems illogical to me given that the number of students attending third level education has been rising steadily and will continue to rise further in the years ahead that SUSI grants paid out are decreasing.

 “Under this government underfunding on schemes in certain sectors has become the norm. This is unacceptable and must not be allowed to creep into the education sector too.

 “Many families find themselves just over the qualifying threshold. However, being just over the limit does in no way mean families can afford the fees universities expect without SUSI assistance. Rents are spiralling, the cost of living is increasing, and insurance costs are driving young people off the road.

 “€29 million has been wiped off government spending. This is not good enough and abandons thousands of students and their families across the country.

 “Fairness should be brought to the application process. Efforts should be made to ensure those from less well-off backgrounds have the same level of access to education. Sadly, every cent of that €29 million is no longer available for students who need it,” concluded Deputy Smith.