Student Universal Support Ireland - the grant system whose payments can often make the difference for a struggling student between being able to afford food for a week or whether they have to give serious thought to resorting to cannibalising one of their flatmates - have announced that they are allowing students to apply for grants from today.
The process of applying for a grant, either for your tuition fees to be paid or for a maintenance grant throughout the year, can be incredibly stressful. While the SUSI website itself is incredibly helpful, no website can possibly contain enough informative tabs or conscientiously laid out information to take the excruciating edge off waiting for that email or letter to arrive which entirely determines whether you will be financially solvent for your next year of college or ifyou will disappear into a vortex of debt.
SUSI announced their decision to open their application process early via Twitter.
We are now open for applications for the 2018/19 academic year. See https://t.co/Xj3rAEas9G for the latest updates. All information regarding the grant process can be found here: https://t.co/ZDchF9nFsN. #SUSIOpenDate pic.twitter.com/DCNHkg9g1a
— @susihelpdesk (@Susihelpdesk) April 5, 2018
Their reasons for doing so are to hopefully try and alleviate some of the backlog that inevitably builds up each year on their system. For instance, last year they received some 103,000 grant applications, with some 80% of those receiving some form of grant. Given how incredibly and painstakingly comprehensive the information required of each applicant is - for instance, there is a section dedicated to you having to declare, whether you, or those who are still financially responsible for your welfare, own any forest-land; such are the depths SUSI deems it necessary to plumb - it is easy to imagine how complex an operation it is processing all of these applications.
For students who are perhaps applying for the grant for the first time, or who've had a change in their circumstances since they last applied, they provide an excellent tool on their site, the Eligibility Reckoner, which - aside from sounding like some poorly named amateur UK wrestling champion from the 1970s - allows you to enter your details and see whether you ought expect to be eligible for a SUSI grant.
Any students who received a grant this year and are looking for one next year, must reapply for a grant. Aoife Greene, a SUSI spokesperson, said that "[Students] do not need to have their leaving certificate results, or to have accepted a course, in order to submit an application."
Indeed, it is advised that anyone, even if they are uncertain whether they will begin or continue their studies next year, SUSI urges all students to make an application. If you are offered a grant, and have decided against studying next year, then you can simply turn down their offer, which will have no ramifications for you in the future should you decide to go to college and need to reapply for a grant.
The priority closing date for new applications is July 12, 2018, but SUSI urges everyone to apply as soon as possible.