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Matthews welcomes changes to non-adjacent SUSI Grants

Date: 13 October 2020


There were three important changes to the SUSI Grant announced as part of the budget. This included a €1000 increase in the qualifying threshold from a household income perspective and an across the board €200 increase in the grant allocation for students that qualify.


The third which has slipped slightly under the radar as it does not impact as many people is the significant change in the qualifying distance for the payment of the higher ‘non-adjacent’ grant which has gone from 45km to 30km and is measured from the door of the student’s home to their third level college. Deputy Steven Matthews was speaking after the budget speeches and welcomed this development in particular:


“There were as series of positive announcements for students in the budget with the half price leap card for all 19-23-year olds in particular grabbing headlines. However, one that didn’t get attention but will potentially benefit students in South and West Wicklow in particular is the change in the required distance from college to qualify for the ‘non-adjacent’ SUSI rate. This change could provide significant extra support for student’s expenses depending on their other qualifying criteria.


“The change from 45km to 30km will bring about changes in particular for students in Wicklow commuting to Dublin for third level. I would encourage all students who were borderline in previous applications to look into it as depending on which university they are attending, it may bring in students living in Baltinglass and further west and Kilcoole and further south into qualifying for the higher rate which is a very positive development.


“Amending the criteria to qualify for the non-adjacent rate is something I have been raising since early last summer having dealt with a number of students who found themselves within a kilometre or so of qualifying for the higher rate and despite taking the same bus in many cases as their neighbours who fell on the right side of the boundary, were unable to qualify.


“There were also serious concerns raised in recent months with regards to how the distance between students’ accommodation and colleges were calculated but having dealt with a series of these issues over the summer, this appears to have been resolved. However, if anyone has been rejected for a SUSI grant and they believe it to be a mistake, I would be more than happy to offer any support I can.


“Students have faced unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic – with many having spent their entire first year and more at home instead of in classrooms. Now that we are experiencing a near normal level return to full time in classroom learning, I hope that the measures announced in the budget will go some way to improving their college experiences and further alleviating the burden on qualifying families by reducing the cost of sending their children to third level", concluded Deputy Matthews.

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