The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant system has once again come under fire as more than half of those who applied for a grant with the system have yet to receive a decision on their application.
Despite SUSI officials reporting that they were ten weeks ahead of schedule as recently as August, more than 21,000 third-level students have yet to find out if their application to the system was successful or not.
In fact, more than fifty students have had their complaints accepted by the ombudsman as valid after they went the entire 2012/13 academic year without receiving information as to whether or not they would be receiving their grants.
Speaking on behalf of the Office of the Ombudsman, Tom Morgan admitted to the University Observer that there have been further complaints which the ombudsman has had to deem invalid because either the complainant had not yet exhausted their right to appeal locally, or because the complaint related to some time before the 1st of May.
Previously, third-level education institutions and the Student Grants Appeals Board did not fall under the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman, although this has been rectified since the Ombudsman Amendment Act 2012 came into effect on the 1st of May of this year.
Morgan was keen to stress that the ombudsman could not accept any complaints about SUSI if they did not relate to an event on or after that date, otherwise they would be rejected as “invalid premature”.
“Let’s say someone applied for a grant last September and, come the first of May, they still don’t have a decision, and they’ve complained to the ombudsman,” said Morgan. “The