Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan has called on the Education Minister to ensure that no student will be penalised when being assessed for a SUSI grant this year.

He expressed concern that students who are currently working on the frontline could be penalised as they may breach the cap for income criteria, despite the overall household income being substantially lower than normal.

Deputy Moynihan explained, “SUSI allows for students to work during the summer, up to a certain amount, without having it impacting on their grant allowance. However, since colleges closed under the COVID-19 restrictions, many students are working in essential services – whether it be student nurses now working in our hospitals, students stacking shelves in supermarkets, or students working on local farms.

“The only reason students are able to work at this time is because the colleges are closed. This global pandemic has had a major financial impact on so many families across Cork and further afield. Households have seen a drop off in their incomes as a result of temporary redundancies, pay cuts or reduced hours and the fact that some students are able to work more that they usually would be should not be held against them at this very difficult time.

“I am calling for assurances from the Minister for Education that there will be some flexibility in the application process for students who have been working for the past six weeks, especially in cases where the overall household income is reduced this year.

“This is a particularly difficult time for students and their families and I would like to see any additional stress mitigated. This is merely an administrative change, which will not cost anything, but which will make a huge difference to students and their families”.