BECKY KEALY: “SUSI decision to withdraw funding from 236 students in Cork during pandemic cruel”
Aontú Representative for Cork North West, Becky Kealy has described as ‘unacceptable’, SUSI’s decision to withdraw funding from 236 students in the Cork area. Her remarks come as statistics released to Aontú by Minister Simon Harris reveal that 2,050 students in the State have had their funding withdrawn this academic year, with 236 of them native of Cork.
Becky Kealy said: “In his response to a parliamentary question from my party leader Peadar Tóibín, the Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, has outlined the reasons for the withdrawal of funding from 2,050 students in the State who were initially awarded a SUSI grant for this academic year. Some of these reasons are simply ridiculous – students who repeat a year in college are considered, by the SUSI grant system, as ‘not progressing in education’ and are therefore facing the withdrawal of SUSI funding in the middle of their term”.
Kealy continued: “For 237 students SUSI is now pursuing the student seeking repayment from them. For some of these people this repayment amounts to thousands of euro – money which many have never seen, because the funding was paid directly to the colleges, not into the students’ bank accounts. 236 students in Co Cork have had their funding withdrawn”
“In many cases SUSI incorrectly deemed applicants as qualifying for the grant, and then withdrew that funding upon review. In these cases, SUSI made the mistake, not the student, and yet SUSI are requesting repayment from the student. We all remember the last recession, and the scenes of students lining up at airports to emigrate. These scenes will become the norm once again unless we work to ensure that students have the financial supports to stay in the country and to stay in education. It would appear to me, from my engagement with students, that the system is exceptionally harsh and conservative in their treatment of applicants in this academic year. This is cruel, we in Aontú are calling on this approach to be relaxed especially in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic – we should be sympathetic and compassionate to students and young people who have been deprived of normal life for a year now”, concluded Becky Kealy.