herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

SUSI deadline is pushed back for late applications

LATE applications will be accepted for third-level grants with up to 8,000 outstanding following the deadline.

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the body which processes the applications, said it had received 82,000 of the anticipated 90,000 applications expected this year by the deadline of midnight on Monday.

It said that there have been 59,000 new applications, which is up by more than 50pc compared to this time last year. The remainder were renewal applications, it said.

The body said that the SUSI helpline remained open until midnight on Monday to facilitate queries and dealt with 550 calls.

Although the closing date has passed, late applications will be accepted and the SUSI helpline will remain open as usual on weekdays. However, applicants received before yesterday's deadline will be prioritised for processing.

Head of Operations Alan Murphy said: "Our online application system opened a month earlier allowing for this high number of applications to come in earlier this year. This will allow SUSI to manage the flow of its assessment work in the next three months to deliver a more timely and efficient service for students."

The deadline for student grant applicants was extended until midnight on Monday, after the online processing system crashed last Thursday night.

Fault

The SUSI system went down for about two hours due to a technical fault.

SUSI said that the system had been "temporarily unavailable" between 7pm and 9pm that night due to a system administrator fault – the deadline was then extended.

The body said that the number of student grant applications it had received by Monday night's deadline was on target.

The applicants now face an anxious wait to see if they actually qualify for a grant. The much-anticipated Leaving Cert results are due out next week. Potential students do not need to have a college place awarded to make an application. The round one third-level places will be made by the CAO on August 19.

Meanwhile, among the new initiatives made to the system this year was an on-line tracker system – students can now track the progress of their applications without having to contact SUSI. In addition, a new online system for renewals was put in place to simplify the process. It replaced a 16-page paper form.

The body also said that it had published key dates for receipt of applications and the return of documents by students.

fdillon@herald.ie

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