FEARS have been raised about the eligibility of college students to avail of grant funding for the forthcoming year amid fears their pandemic unemployment payments (PUP) could push them over the threshold.
Thousands of college students availed of the PUP on its introduction last year.
UCC Students’ Union president Asha Woodhouse said: “There is currently a grant review ongoing. We do have a big concern coming into this year in terms of eligibility.”
She said students may find themselves in difficulty if their grant applications are not processed.
“We are preparing ourselves for having a wave of students who might find themselves in a financial crisis,” she said.
A Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science spokesperson told The Echo that of the 43,000 applications assessed, 39,000 have been approved.
“This is an early indication of the very high success rate of people applying and being deemed eligible.
“The pandemic unemployment payment has been treated as reckonable income since it was introduced in March 2020. This is not a new development. Income from the payment has the same standing and is treated in a similar fashion to other department of Social Protection payments, such as jobseeker’s benefit or jobseeker’s allowance.
“The consistency of approach for all students is critical — a student or family on jobseeker’s benefit, for example, or on jobseeker’s allowance or the one-parent family benefit, must be treated the same as a student or family on the pandemic unemployment payment.”