Surge in students seeking Susi grant claiming estrangement from parents

Surge in students seeking Susi grant claiming estrangement from parents

Fifty-one students went on to be subsequently awarded their grant without stating estrangement in the application.

There has been a surge in the number of students applying for a Susi grant stating that they are irreconcilably estranged from their parents.

Applications have increased from 99 in 2016 to 247 in 2021.

Figures released to Peadar Tóibín, the leader of Aontú and TD for Meath West, show the numbers have been increasing each year over the past six academic years.

The most noticeable increase was for the 2020/21 academic year, which saw 214 applications received by Susi, compared to 152 the year prior.

This year, 247 applications were received from students who stated they are estranged from their parents. Of this, 188 students saw their funding application rejected. 

A further 51 students went on to be subsequently awarded their grant without stating estrangement in the application.

'Humiliating'

Mr Tóibín said: "Every year my office helps students in that situation, and the process is humiliating for them. The level of proof required is over the top.” 

The process involves solicitors' letters, references from local gardaí, and sometimes a reference from local politicians, he said.

“In my constituency, some students find it very awkward to have to approach a TD who they know in a rural area, or a garda, and explain that they are no longer speaking to their parents,” Mr Tóibín said. 

A spokeswoman for SUSI said: "Such applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a specialist assessment team who are dedicated to giving them the care and thorough consideration required around such a sensitive issue." 

Applicants are asked to share documentary evidence of the estrangement with SUSI to confirm their situation, she added. 

Accepted evidence can include a court order or a letter from a social worker or TUSLA. "Other documents provided in individual cases but not specifically listed as examples can also, in combination with other documents and information, provide the required level of evidence." 

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