The Fine Gael Spokesman on Education, Brian Hayes, has asked if one in ten third-level students who applied for student support had not yet received their grants.

Mr Hayes directed the question towards Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe in the Dáil.

Minister O'Keefe said he did not have the exact figures but some groups were quoting figures of 6,500 people waiting for funding, which would account for one in ten.

The Minister said the number of applications for grants were up 30% this year in light of the economic situation.

He said he hoped to enact legislation in the current Dáil term to streamline the student support application process, but that there were legal difficulties.

The Minister said he was not satisfied with the current process and appealed to Higher Education Authority that the institutions would be flexible in relation to payments on the basis that grants had been held up.