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23/09/2021

Sinn Féin TD calls on government to clarify student grant situation

Matt Carthy

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin

Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has called on the government to provide clarity regarding student grant applications particularly for those whose family’s income has been affected by Covid-19.
 
Deputy Carthy said: “The SUSI student grant application process opened last week.  Crucially, however, there has been no specific recognition of the fact that many families have lost jobs or had income reduced due to Covid-19.
 
“Because the assessment is seemingly based on 2019 income, it appears that no provision has been made for the changed realities that Covid-19 has presented and there is a fear that the new position for many students and families is being ignored.
 
“While the Department of Education has referenced the ‘Change of circumstances’ provision, the guidelines state that this only applies where a change is ‘permanent or for the foreseeable future’.  It isn’t at all clear that this will allow for people who are unemployed now as a result of the Coronavirus restrictions, and who do not know if their employment will reopen or not.
 
“There is growing concern among students and their families in Cavan and Monaghan and Sinn Féin have therefore called on Education Minister, Joe McHugh, to address those concerns.
 
“What is required here is clarity, certainty and honesty for students and their families.  Students are facing enough pressure and uncertainty as it is without this additional stress.
 
“We in Sinn Féin are calling on the Minister to immediately amend the criteria to insert specific arrangements for students’ whose families incomes have been affected by the Covid-19 situation.  It is the fair and appropriate course of action.”

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