SY Waterford – Student Grants: Cut, Late and Inadequate

By Lucian Verkin

As a student who is reliant on the maintenance grant, I am at the mercy of an inefficient system and the Budget cuts that reduced an already inadequate grant. Each county and city council provides their grants at different times, sometimes weeks apart.
The first instalment, which arrives during October, is already too late given the huge expense involved in starting college, purchasing books, equipment etc. For me, living near to my college and receiving an adjacent rate means I have approximately €80 per week during school terms provided for me. This is supposed to sustain me as well as buy my books which cost several hundred euro! The grant was cut in the last budget by 5%, but the cost of books, travel etc. remains the same.

The system upon which grants are decided on is a long and complex form of means testing that deems many students from working families ineligible to receive assistance.  Students must patiently await the decision as to whether their application for a grant has been approved, weeks into already beginning their first semester in college. By this time, essays are due, books to write those essays need to have been purchased, and working class students are in some cases, already falling behind.  Any student pursuing an education should be provided with a living grant and should have the right to a quality job, that utilises their training and education, upon graduation.


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