Student fears budget cuts will force her to drop out

A STUDENT already waiting a full term for her college grant is in fear of dropping out because of the 5% cut in payments as part of Wednesday’s budget.

While Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe claims the drop reflects cost-of-living falls, postgraduate student Annie Hoey said she is already up to her eyes in debt and struggling to feed herself with €20 a week.

“I was on the top level of grant for the last three years, which has been the same €3,000 since I started. But while rents may be a bit cheaper, I can still barely afford food and books for my course,” she said.

“I’m just about able to get by with very little, but less than a little will make it impossible.

“Having €5 less every week on the highest grant level will make a huge difference, I can’t feed myself with any less than what I got before,” said Annie.

While she is still waiting for her grant application to be processed by Meath County Council, she remains more than €20,000 in debt from a number of student loans.

She has tried to put herself through college, as her parents in Duleek, Co Meath, have been living on social welfare since her father became unable to work because of disability a number of years ago.

“The Government are robbing from the poor to pay the rich. I want to learn so I can go out and work, but do they want me to drop out of college and sign on the dole? If the grant doesn’t come through by the end of January, that’s what I’ll have to do,” she said.

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