With the Leaving Cert delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Green Party has called for financial supports to be put in place for students and families ahead of the next academic year.
Green Party Spokesperson for Social Protection, Marc Ó Cathasaigh has asked for measures to be put in place to support students who are facing into a summer of financial uncertainty as they prepare to start college for the first time or return in the Autumn.
He has specifically asked for an increase in the SUSI grant and an extension which would see it cover more families and students.
“There are families who may have been close to qualifying for the SUSI grant but for whom circumstances have changed as a result of Covid-19 and they need to be taken into account,” he started.
“Parents the length and breadth of the country have lost their jobs and while some will return to work, many won’t and this will severely impact students who had hoped to start in college in September.
"This is a time of great uncertainty for Leaving Cert students and current 3rd level students who were depending on summer work to go towards their college costs - this is one bit of certainty and support we can give them as some of them face severe financial hardship in the autumn.
“There are students doing their Leaving Cert this year who had planned to work for the summer to raise enough money to see them through to Christmas and kick start their college education. More and more families will have been depending on that income since the Covid crisis began as so many parents will have lost their jobs.
“With the postponement of the Leaving Cert until the end of July or early August, this opportunity for students to raise this money has now evaporated.
“The cost of being a student is very high and already, many students have lost part-time jobs they had to support themselves while others have had to continue to pay rent for vacant accommodation. If we don’t roll out an increase and an extension of the SUSI grant, the financial impact will be disproportionate amongst students in lower socio-economic groups.”