Food Boxes Provided For Students Still Waiting For Grants

Students' Unions across the country are providing boxes of food for students who are still waiting on grant assistance.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has encouraged all Students' Unions to provide whatever assistance they can to those who are now looking to them for their basic needs.

This initiative comes as figures from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) reveal that 5,575 students, 28% of successful applicants, are still waiting on their first grant payment.

An external review of SUSI will begin in the coming weeks in order to implement a major overhaul of the agency ahead of the next academic year. The centralised grant awarding agency has singularly failed to make the grant processing system more efficient and, as a result, many students are in serious financial difficulty.

John Logue, President of the Union of Students in Ireland said: "As students return for the second term of the year, over 5,500 are still desperate for financial assistance. In order to alleviate some of the hardship caused by delayed grant payments, a significant number of Students' Unions across the country have provided food boxes for students who are coming to college hungry.

"The Students' Union in Athlone Institute of Technology has set up a soup kitchen, kindly funded by the college canteen, in response to the demand for assistance in the college.

"While some Students' Unions can provide basic assistance as regards food and modest welfare loans, they cannot pay rent or fees for students who rely on grants to cover these costs. The chronic delay with grant payments is stretching the patience of landlords to breaking point. They are putting students under immense pressure to come up with payments that are now months overdue.

"USI is calling on the Minister to ensure that SUSI has all necessary resources to complete grant payments by the end of the month."


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