Grants are processed quickly..but at a cost
WEXFORD County Council has a good record in processing grants quickly for college students but it spends more to process them than many other local authorities.
A Union of Students in Ireland survey showed that the average cost of processing a grant nationally is €152 whereas Wexford County Council spends €240.50 processing each application.
Cllr. Malcolm Byrne said the local authority is very efficient in processing grants but wondered why the cost is above the national average.
He said it would make more sense to have a centralised grants office to ensure students everywhere get their grants as quickly as possible.
Cllr. George Lawlor said colleges previously accepted a letter of grant application when students were registering but many third level institutions were no longer doing so and now wanted the registration fee upfront.
But he understood that local authorities were not allowed to process an application until a student has secured a place. If they were allowed to do the administrative work in advance, it would speed up the process.
Director of Services Adrian Doyle explained that grants were processed in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Department of Education.
He did not see the USI survey but he pointed out that over the past 15 years, Wexford had been the best and most efficient in operating the grants scheme.
'Is the USI saying that we shouldn't be spending as much money and should be slower?', he asked.