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Student grants

Options available to third-level and postgraduate students.


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in education


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You can now make new grant applications online.

Student Maintenance Grant

  • The first funding option to check out is a grant. You can apply online through the grant authority, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) .
  • You must apply for a grant online through SUSI.
  • Grants are means tested and if you work (legally and paying tax) during the summer or while studying, this income will also be counted when you apply for a grant.
  • You cannot get a maintenance grant if you are on a Back to Education Allowance or a VTOS allowance.
  • You are eligible if you're applying for a full time course, are 17 or over and are a resident of Ireland. You must also have been living in Ireland for the past three out of five years. If you have EU nationality or official refugee status, then you may also apply.
  • Bear in mind that there can be significant delays in processing grants. Therefore you might have to budget carefully before your grant money comes in. Even a full grant will not see you through college, as the grant only provides financial assistance. Further information can be found here.
  • There were significant changes made to the postgraduate grant scheme in January 2012. If you are qualified as a 'special rate' student (which means both parents are on jobseekers allowance or other social welfare payments) the government will pay your tuition fees, however they will no longer pay any grant money. A further 4000 students whose parents are also on low incomes will receive a €2000 tuition contribution, but their full tuition fees will not be paid. They will also not be entitled to any maintenance grant.
  • Overall, these changes mean that most post graduate students do not receive much tuition fee help and that there are no maintenance grants for post graduate students at all.
  • Your grant is re-assessed each year, so if your financial circumstances change, you may no longer be eligible for a grant. The body that awarded your grant will be in touch to renew or re-assess your grant at this time.

Fee Grant

  • This type of grant is means tested and follows a lot of the same conditions as the grant.
  • The fee grant can fund all or part of the student contribution/all or part of a student's fees.
  • If you're in an approved undergraduate or post-graduate course from these institutions, you might be eligible.
  • If you've completed a course at National Certificate or Diploma level and are going on to a university course you might be eligible.
  • BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) courses in some colleges in Ireland and Northern Ireland are covered by the scholarship.
  • If you qualify for a maintenance grant, you will also qualify for a fee grant.
  • If you are a 'tuition student' (not currently living in Ireland, but have been living in an European Economic Area state for three out of the last five years), you may qualify for a fee grant, but not a maintenance grant.
  • Further information can be found here.

Financial aid printed on a first aid box.

  • Depending on the type of course you're going to do, you might be eligible for a maintenance grant for trainees or a grant for students attending post Leaving Cert courses.
  • You are not eligible for these grants if you already have a degree, are studying for a degree at the moment or have completed more than the first year of a degree.
  • Further information can be found on the Citizens' Information website and here.

Northern Ireland grants

  • Maintenance grants are means tested (they depend on your parent’s income) and you need to be a resident in the UK for at least three years to apply for a grant.
  • You can also apply for supplementary grants which include dependents’ allowance, single parent student’s allowance, disabled student’s allowance, travel grants, two homes grants and grants for students who’ve been in custody or care.
  • If you live in Ireland, but study in Northern Ireland or Britain, then you can apply for a grant at home.

Avoid delays in getting your grant or scholarship

  • Make sure you fill in the grant application form correctly and without leaving empty spaces. If you have any questions, call the authority in charge of your grant applications.
  • The grant authority contacting you for more details of documents that you forgot to include can cause delays.
  • Don’t be late sending in your grant application. This will also cause delays. Apply for the grant when you’re waiting for a CAO or UCAS offer.
  • You are going to have to show documents about your parents’ income, so leave plenty of time for getting these.

Stuff to remember

  • If your grant is delayed, you might be able to get a grant advance from your bank. This is an interest free loan for up to nine months, so long as you can prove that you’ll eventually get a grant.
  • The grant may cover your college registration fee. If the grant is late, there’s a risk that your college or uni will ask for a late payments fee. Check this at the College Fees office where you pick up your grant cheque.
  • The grant isn’t usually paid on repeat years unless you can prove that illness caused you to repeat.
  • The grant is paid into your bank account each month.
  • The grant isn’t enough money to live on. You’re going to have to use savings from a summer job, a part-time job, support from parents or bank loans to get through college with more than beans to eat!
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Published January 17th, 2013
Last updated April 19th, 2017
Tags college university student
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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