Students urged to apply as soon as possible for Student Grant Scheme

The Department of Education and Skills has announced details of the further and higher education Student Grant Scheme for the 2011/12 academic year.

Up until now, there were four grant schemes. In the first major step to overhaul the student grant system, the four schemes have been replaced by a single unified scheme this year. This will make it far easier for students to apply for a grant.

Almost 38,000 students, well over half of the expected number of applications, will be able to apply online for their grant this year.

The grantsonline facility has been rolled out to an extra 24 grant awarding bodies giving a total of 35 in all now using the system. The system is available through studentfinance.ie.

This facility will be available to all students next year when a single grant awarding authority will become operational. The CDVEC was recently announced as that authority after a competitive process.

With the Leaving Certificate finished, the Department is urging students who may qualify to apply as quickly as possible for a grant and to ensure that forms are correctly completed

This will prevent log jams in the system or delays to decisions. Previously, those who wait until very late in the process, frequently only after a CAO offer, faced delayed decisions.

In addition, up to 60% of applications in some areas have to be returned because they are not fully completed, they are inaccurately completed or don’t have the necessary supporting documentation. Again, this contributes significantly to delays.

The grantsonline system will play an important role in reducing application completion errors because the system is intelligent to the information being input.

The Department confirmed that income limits to qualify for maintenance grants and payment of the student contribution remain unchanged for the new academic year.

However, students should be aware of a change introduced to the scheme under the last government’s Budget 2011 which reduces the qualifying distance criterion for the non-adjacent rate of grant from 24kms to 45km.

Details of the scheme together with the application form and guidance notes are available in the grants section of the http://www.studentfinance.ie .website.

www.waterford-today.ieWednesday, 6th July 2011

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