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New student grant awarding authority, SUSI, goes live

“This is an excellent example of public sector reform”, says Minister Quinn

The new central online system for student grants is now live. Student Universal Support Ireland or SUSI will be accepting all new grant applications and giving out payments to students starting college in the coming academic year or those beginning new courses.

Up until last year, students applied to their local authority or VEC for their grants. Some 66 grant awarding authorities were involved, all using a variety of application, assessment and payment processes.

SUSI replaces all of these with a centralised, easy to use, on-line system of application. SUSI is run by the City of Dublin VEC which was chosen to operate the student grant scheme in an independent selection process.

If parents or students have any queries in relation to the application process or the student grant scheme they should contact the “SUSI Support Desk” by telephone at 0761 08 7874 or email

Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. is urging students to apply to SUSI early.

“Now that the system is up and running I would call on students who will be starting college in the autumn or those who are beginning new courses to apply on-line as soon as they can.”

“Leaving Cert students will be finishing up their exams in the next ten days and those who are likely to qualify for a student grant can then set their minds to making an online application through”.

“The process is quick and easy, you do not have to have decided on your college course before applying and you will be informed much quicker on the outcome of your application,” said Minister Quinn.

“Many students have had to wait for lengthy periods for their grants in the past and faced undue hardship as a result of these delays. Now, once they are approved, they will receive monthly electronic transfers into their bank accounts during the academic year.”

There are significant savings to the Exchequer through the operation of SUSI. 170 people are currently employed across the 66 grant awarding authorities. SUSI has a staff of 65 which will save the taxpayer approximately €5 million per annum once the transition is complete.

“This is an excellent example of public sector reform,” said Minister Quinn, “It has significant benefits not only to students seeking or in receipt of grants but also to the public purse.”

“These reforms will ensure better customer service for all students who rely on grants and are also a concrete development in meeting the objectives for the education sector as set out in the Croke Park Agreement.”

The new streamlined system will make it much easier for students to apply for grants. It is an intelligent system, leading students to answer questions only relevant to their circumstances. Mandatory fields mean that incomplete applications cannot arise.

Jacinta Stewart CEO of the CDVEC said, “Our principal purpose, with this new unit, is to provide students with a better service and faster payments. CDVEC, in the setting up of SUSI, has fully committed to streamlining the student grant application process.”

Once an application has been submitted online, eligible students will receive a preliminary approval which will be confirmed when they submit any necessary supporting documentation and acceptance of a college place. This not alone means that students will get payments in a timely manner, but it will help them and their parents to make more informed choices about going to college.

As SUSI will only be dealing with new applications in the first year of operation, renewal applications for students already in receipt of a grant for their current courses will continue to be dealt with by the existing 66 grant awarding authorities.

The SUSI support desk has already been available during office hours and is now expanded to 9.00am-10.00pm Monday-Friday and 9.00am-6.00pm Saturdays since the go-live.


For more information contact:

Sarah Moroney 01 889 2162 or 087 772 0570

Sarah Miley 01 889 2322 or 087 782 0941

Editor’s Notes:

Currently, some 41% of all undergraduate students receive a grant and have the student contribution paid on their behalf by the State.

The new grants system will be fully on line through For students for whom an online application may present particular difficulties, SUSI is putting in place a SUSI Mentoring Network nationwide to provide a local “one-to-one” assistance service throughout the country to ensure that local guidance and access to online facilities are available to all students. Training is currently being provided to these service providers.

In addition, the system itself has been designed in such a way as to interactively guide students through the application process.

Staffing of SUSI:

Currently the student grants administration function is carried out by some 170 staff across 66 grant awarding bodies nationwide – 33 VECs and 33 local authorities.

The single grant awarding authority will operate with a staff of 65 whole time equivalents, thereby reducing the number of administration staff by some 105 posts once the transition is complete.

The staffing resources for the single grant awarding authority will predominantly come from re-deployment of existing public service staff through the Public Appointments Service.

When the switch over to SUSI is complete, it is estimated that savings will be in the region of €5m per annum.

Public Sector Reform:

The establishment of the single student grant awarding authority will provide both for significant improvements in the student experience of the grant system and for substantial efficiencies for the State in administering support to students in order to ensure access to higher education.

SUSI will, over the next few years, completely replace the existing 66 local authorities and VECs in their role as grant awarding bodies.

These reforms also represents a concrete development in meeting the objectives set out in the action plan for the education sector on the Croke Park Agreement and will ensure a better and more consistent level of customer service for all those who rely on these supports.

SUSI will deliver significant savings in the administration of student grant applications based on the introduction of new processes and the increased automation of service delivery.

The combination of improvements introduced and control measures in place for the 2012/13 academic year should substantially reduce the delays which some students have experienced in recent years and ensure that there is sufficient capacity to handle the large volume of applications.

Appointment of CDVEC to run the Single Authority:

CDVEC was selected from a number of providers through an expression of interest process. CDVEC was formally legally designated by the Minister for Education and Skills with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on 22nd May 2012.

Further Information on Student Grants:

Further information on student grants is available on