Harris writes to Education Minister about Higher Education Grants

FG Councillor urges Minister O'Keeffe to reform grants system so that students receive grants on time rather than the current debacle

Fine Gael County and Town Councillor Simon Harris has written to the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD and urged him to reform the system for administering higher education grants.

Councillor Harris, the youngest member of Wicklow County Council, has been a long time critic of the current system in place which results in students experiencing long delays before receiving payment of the first instalment of their grant. He has previously raised the issue at County Council Meetings.

Speaking about his decision to write to the Minister for Education, Councillor Harris said, "Clearly there is a real need to reform the system for administering higher education grants. Currently in this county and across the country there are students who began the college year four months ago and have still not received the first instalment of their college grant. This is a ridiculous situation."

"It has long been acknowledged that the current system is inefficient. Presently, some grants are administered by the County Council and other grants by the VEC. The timeframe between applying for the grant and beginning college is far too short and places a huge burden on both organisations and crucially on students and their families," continued Councillor Harris.

"The Minister has acknowledged that the present system needs to be examined and now is the perfect time to do it. He must make a decision on this issue now so that the necessary changes can be made in advance of the next academic year. If he goes about this in the correct manner, come next September there is no reason why every eligible student who applies for the grant is not in receipt of the payment at the beginning of their college year," concluded Councillor Harris.

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