Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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The Institute of Guidance Counsellors

Posted by Francis O' Toole on November 15, 2012

“The Institute of Guidance Counsellors are alarmed and concerned at the serious delay in awarding of third level maintenance grants to students. The decision to remove the entire existing grant application staff in the VEC’s and County Councils, from processing this years first time grant applications, can now be seen to have been a huge error of judgement on the part of the Minister for Education and Skills. You cannot remove the entire collective skill base from such a complex process and not give rise to the chaos we are now experiencing.

As Guidance Counsellors we are painfully aware of how third level students are relying on maintenance grants to continue their studies. According to the latest figures provided at the Education Committee meeting in the Dail this morning,  only 3,050 students are in receipt of their grants to date. 40,000 students had received grants this time last year and in fact the number of applicants has since increased.

We are calling on the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) to immediately advise us as to how and when it intends to clear the backlog of third level grants. The delay in processing the grants is putting students under severe pressure AND CAUSING THEM UNDUE WORRY.

We are calling on Mr Quinn to put the necessary resources in place immediately to clear the backlog that exists, and rectify the problems that are clearly with the new system to avoid any further stress and suffering for the eligible students and parents.

We are also extremely concerned that the current problems with the grant application system will be replicated in the CAO application process this year, given the severe cut backs in the level of contact and support between Guidance Counsellors and Leaving Certificate students in our second level schools, following the removal of the ex quota guidance provision from all schools since September 2012.

Betty Mc Laughlin, National PRO, Institute of Guidance Counsellors, Guidance Counsellor, Colaiste Mhuire CBS, Mullingar

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