Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) has paid almost two-thirds of this year's 60,000 third-level student grants.

This time last year just 10% of grants had been awarded.

SUSI said it has been running more efficiently due to improvements to its system.

23,000 first-time applicants and 20,000 renewal students have been notified that they have been awarded grants.

That is compared to just 6,000 this time last year when some students experienced major delays.

The grant awarding body said that 4,000 students who have  already been awarded grants and are still to be paid will receive their award as soon as their colleges confirm that they are registered and when students provide their bank details.

It said students who met SUSI's priority processing deadlines and have submitted all the documents required have now been awarded their grants.

SUSI said that applicants who supplied documents within deadline and were asked for additional information will receive notification of their grant status within four weeks of providing the information.