Date Uploaded: 17/10/2016
More than 200 third-level students who meet the criteria for a grant are losing out - because they are studying in private colleges.
The students are on CAO courses in institutions such as Griffith College and DBS, Dublin, where typical fees are about €5,000.
But as eligibility for State-funded grants awarded by the Susi agency is linked to attendance at a publicly funded college, they do not qualify.
While there may be a perception that students in private colleges are from well-off backgrounds, that is not necessarily the case.
The Wake Up Susi campaign, representing about 205 students from middle- and low-income families who meet the criteria for grant eligibility and who are attending private colleges, took their case to the Oireachtas education committee yesterday.
Alisha Houlihan of Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, who addressed the committee, has received help from the Society of St Vincent de Paul, family and friends to help her to fund her journalism studies at Griffith College.
Having impressed Griffith authorities with her potential, the college is supporting her with a €16,000 scholarship over three years.
Last year, Susi paid out €370m in grants and fees and Wake Up Susi says that extending the scheme to students on CAO courses in private colleges would cost about €1.2m.
Journalist: Katherine Donnelly