Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education, Senator Averil Power, has warned that third level students are likely to face delays in receiving student grants this Autumn if details of the 2011/12 grant scheme and application forms are not published by the Department urgently.

Last year the grant scheme and application forms were published on 24th May. It is now 22nd June and there is still no sign of the 2011/12 forms.

Senator Power said: “I am concerned that if students can’t even submit their applications until July, then processing of the forms will be delayed. This could leave thousands of students waiting for their grant cheques until long after the start of the college year.

“The local authorities have already lost four weeks of processing time and there are no clear indications about how much longer this delay will continue. Students are getting increasingly nervous and they deserve an explanation from the Minister.

“The longer Education Minister Ruairí Quinn delays in publishing the 11/12 application forms, the greater the risk that students won’t get paid until well after the start of college year. This could leave students struggling to pay their rent at the start of term.

“Minister Quinn’s procrastination could lead to real hardship for students. I am calling on him to publish the 2011/12 grant scheme and application forms ASAP,” concluded Senator Power.