Mr. Simon Harris TD
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science,
15 June 2021
Dear Minister Harris,
We hope this letter finds you well. We are contacting you in relation to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) which is affecting SUSI eligibility for some students. It has recently come to UCD Students’ Union attention that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will form part of the eligibility criteria for students who are awarded the SUSI grant. This will ensure that some students will be over the threshold for financial support.
Students who received the PUP payment and rely on the SUSI grant to access education may be locked out of their studies this year. There are students who have already completed 1-3 years of their studies and cannot afford to come back this year without the SUSI grant. As students were not made aware that their SUSI grant would be affected by accessing PUP payments and because these students deserve to have a chance at continuing their studies, we are asking you and your Department to consider disregarding the Pandemic Unemployment Payment from the income eligibility requirements for the SUSI grant this year.
It has been a very tough year for students who have been unable to work and have been studying remotely. It would be a very hard hit to students if they could not afford to return to education because they the have accessed supports from the government during the pandemic. We are worried that students who are most vulnerable may slip through the cracks of further and higher education if this is not resolved.
UCD Students’ Union would be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue further and to work with you to resolve this issue for students.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Le gach dea-ghuí
UCD Students’ Union
University College Dublin,