The Education Executive Agency (DUO) has announced that it has currently received ‘441,899 applications, out of the 435 thousand students expected’. This means that the predicted number of applications has already been exceeded by almost seven thousand.

The student finance authority DUO is not yet sure why this is the case, with their spokesperson commenting that the number 435,000 was merely a forecast, which they reached based on the registrations in previous years in combination with a calculation of the number of students who would still be entitled to a basic grant.

Just wait and see

It may be the case that more students are now applying for student finance that had not done so in previous years, because they could only borrow funds and did not need a public transport card, for example.

The DUO spokesperson adds that ‘every year, we just have to wait and see how many first-year students apply’. The agency expects to be able to provide further details in October.

The basic grant was scrapped for new students in 2015: now it is returning for prospective first-year students and some senior students. These senior students are entitled to this grant insofar as they have not yet used up their ‘performance grant’. In practice, students receive a performance grant for the number of years of their programme.

Some students had halted their student finance only to re-apply for funding now that the basic grant has been re-instated to ensure that they are entitled to the grant for a longer period of time. It is as yet unknown how large this group is.

Campaign

In recent months, DUO has been running a campaign aimed at drawing prospective and current students’ attention to the basic grant. If students apply for the grant by 1 September, they will receive the money within the first month.

The basic grant is, in fact, a loan that is waived if a student were to earn their degree within ten years – the same goes for the supplementary grant and the public transport student card. Anyone who does not earn their degree is required to pay everything back.

The basic grant for students living at home in the current year will be 110 euros per month. Students living on their own will receive 439 euros per month (including a temporary increase of 164 euros due to high levels of inflation).

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