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Free Fees Initiative

By Bernadette Farrell , Wednesday 3rd September, 11:52

Most undergraduate students attending publicly funded third-level courses in Ireland do not have to pay tuition fees. If you are an undergraduate student at a publicly funded third-level educational institution, you do not, in general, have to pay fees. In order to qualify for free fees:


  • You must be an EU national or have official refugee status
  • You must have been living in the EU (this includes any of the accession states) for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 years duration
  • You must not have a previous qualification to the same level (Students who hold a National Certificate or Diploma and are progressing to degree courses may be eligible)
  • You must not be repeating the year (although this exclusion may be waived where a student has to repeat a year due to certified serious illness)

The undergraduate courses for which the free fees arrangements apply are courses in

  • Universities
  • Institutes of technology
  • Colleges of education
  • National College of Ireland
  • A number of religious education institutions

Students who are repeating a year at the same level are generally not eligible under the Initiative. The Free Fees Initiative does not cover the charge payable by students to the colleges towards the cost of registration, examination and student services.

For Further Information

Student Finance
Department of Education and Science

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