Deputy O’Connor calls for clarity on SUSI funding criteria

Cork East Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor raised the issue of higher-level funding for doctoral funding with the Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris in the Dáil recently

Deputy O’Connor raised the issue that the lives of all citizens have been changed by Covid-19. Many young people have moved home due to Covid-19.

They are now ineligible to be classified as an independent candidate under SUSI as they have not been deemed as living independently since the previous October.

Deputy O’Connor urged the minister to recognise that the system to qualify as an independent candidate under the SUSI system is a high bar, having to be living independently since the previous October and having to be over the age of 23 when first entering higher level education or having a 3-year gap in higher education to qualify as an independent candidate.

“The minister cannot suggest that these criteria are solely for the purpose of means testing. The minister must recognise that these criteria deters young people from continuing in higher education.

“Covid-19 has showed us the importance of continuing to support research and development and I welcome the creation of a dedicated department to oversee such vital work,” Deputy O’Connor stated. 

Lastly, the new Cork East TD called on the minister to give clarity on when the Student Support Act will be overhauled.

“Radical action is needed in our Higher Education sector,” Deputy O’Connor concluded.