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07 Dec 2021

Leaving Cert: What you need to know about applying for a third level grant

Leaving Cert: What you need to know about applying for a third level grant

The Student Grant Scheme is the main financial support scheme for students studying in Ireland and abroad, and is awarded by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). 

It is divided into maintenance grants and fee grants. Maintenance grants help students with their living costs, whilst fee grants pay tuition fees for students who do not qualify for the Free Fees Scheme. Fee grants can also pay the Student Contribution and the cost of essential field trips.

Student funding eligibility criteria is as follows:

Nationality condition 

Applicants must be a citizen of Ireland, the UK, an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. However, applicants may still qualify for a grant, for example, if they have refugee status or are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen. The Student Support Scheme for Asylum Seekers provides support in line with the Student Grant Scheme to students living in direct provision or who are in the international protection system.

Residency

Applicants must have been resident in the State for three of the previous five years to qualify for a maintenance grant. However, if applicants are temporarily resident elsewhere in the EU in order to pursue a course of study for a recognised qualification, and were resident in the State for three of the five years before starting their courses, they satisfy this requirement.

If applicants fulfil all the criteria for a maintenance grant except for the residence condition in the State, they may still qualify for a fee grant or a postgraduate fee contribution as a tuition student.

Means test

The means test for a student grant is based on the applicants’ or their families’ gross income for the previous full tax year. Reckonable income for a student grant is gross income from all sources. Some social welfare payments are excluded from reckonable income for the purposes of student grants.

If applicants’ were ordinarily resident with their parent(s) from October 1 of the year before the year of entry to the course, they are considered dependent on their parent(s) and their income (if any) is assessed together with their parents' income(s). 

Independent mature candidates are candidates aged 23 or over on January 1 in the year of entry to the course. To be assessed as an independent mature candidate, applicants must also live separately from their parents from October 1 of the year before the year of entry to the course. If applicants are independent students, they are assessed on their own income (and that of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant if applicable).

Approved courses

Applicants must be attending a course that is approved for a student grant. A list of approved institutions and courses are available on SUSI's website.

Progression

In general, applicants do not get grants for repeating a year or attending a course at a level that does not represent progression from your previous studies. However, second-chance students may be eligible for grants. A second-chance student is someone who is aged over 23, did not successfully complete an earlier course and is returning to do an approved course after a full break in studies of at least five years. 

Maximum period of grant assistance

Applicants do not qualify for the Student Grant Scheme if they have already got a grant for the maximum number of years allowed for the level of study they are undertaking.

Visit susi.ie for more information.

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