Student Assistance Fund: Financial assistance for students

If you are having financial difficulties while at college, the Student Assistance Fund may be able to support you.

Written by spunout


The Student Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for full-time higher education students who are experiencing financial difficulties while attending college.

Students can apply for Student Assistance to help you with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. The SAF provides a further source of funding for higher education students in addition to the Student Grant.

What is covered by the Student Assistance Fund?

The Student Assistance Fund can help students who are struggling to cover the costs of things that are required in order for them to be able to attend college, pay necessary expenses, or participate in their course.

This can include:

  • Books and class materials
  • Rent, heating and lighting bills
  • Food
  • Medical expenses, i.e. doctor or dental visits
  • Childcare
  • The cost of essential or urgent travel
  • The cost of study abroad if it is a compulsory part of your course
  • Expenses associated with family breakdown, bereavement, or accidents

What is not covered by the Student Assistance Fund?

Tuition fees, registration fees, student loan repayments or any costs brought by your college are not covered by the Student Assistance Fund.

Who can apply for the Student Assistance Fund?

In order to be eligible to apply for student assistance, you must be on a full or part-time course leading to a higher education award (National Framework of Qualifications level 6-10) in an Irish university, institute of technology or other approved college. Find a list of approved universities, institutes of technology and colleges.

Part-time students who are lone parents are encouraged to apply as funding is available to support this group. Support from the Student Assistance Fund may also be available to students studying for a Masters to cover costs such as school placements.

Due to demand for Student Assistance, your college may not be able to approve all applications they receive. They may prioritise students who receive a maintenance grant, as this indicates that they have limited means.

How to apply for the Student Assistance Fund

Unlike the student grant, you cannot be considered for Student Assistance before you register in a participating college. Once you have registered, you can apply for the Student Assistance Fund in your college or university. Click here for a list of participating institutions under ‘Check Participating Colleges’.

You should contact the access or student services office in your college for more information on how to apply. It is important to apply as soon as you can. Some colleges have a closing date for applications and you should check when this is.

Application form

All participating colleges have an application form. To apply, you must complete this in the college you are attending .

Attending a meeting

You may be required to attend a meeting with a member of the college staff to discuss the application. You may also need to provide documentation to verify details of the income and outgoings provided in the application.

For more information on the Student Assistance Fund visit the HEA website or speak to the student services at your college.

Find out more about dealing with financial stress as a student.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

Our work is supported by