At present there are four main student support schemes for students intending to go on to third-level education. These schemes include the:
- Higher Education Grants Scheme (HEG Scheme)
- Third Level Maintenance Grants Scheme for Trainees (TLT Scheme)
- Vocational Education Committees? Scholarship Scheme (VEC Scheme)
- Maintenance Grants Scheme for Students attending European Social Fund-Aided Post Leaving Certificate Courses (PLC Scheme)
There is detailed information on the range of grants and funds for students in further and higher education on the website www.studentfinance.ie.
New legislative chances under the Student Support Bill mean that all of these schemes still exist in the 2008/2009 academic year. However it is proposed that in the 2009/2010 academic year this arrangement will change to a single unifies grant scheme. At that time the single scheme will ne administered by the VEC's.
Grants are not paid in respect of attendance at part-time and evening courses.Fund for Students with Disabilities
This fund is specifically designed to provide students with disabilities and specific learning disabilities with the support and/or equipment to enable them to enter, participate in and complete their course of study. It has, in the past, been used to provide support to students with disabilities in a number of ways including:
- Assistance: Personal Assistant; Sign Language Interpreter; Notetaker;
- Services: Transport, i.e. for students with a physical disability who cannot avail of public transport;
- Photocopying; Additional tuition, i.e. for students with learning difficulties - e.g. dyslexia;
- Equipment: Computers with specialised software, i.e. for students with a visual disability; Tape recorders and other items of assistive technology which are directly linked to the student's disability.
Applications for funds are made by the individual student through their institution/PLC college. Students should contact the Access/Disability officer in their institution or the Principal in their PLC College, on registration to discuss their particular disability and the equipment or services required.Student Assistance Fund
The purpose of the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is to provide financial support to disadvantaged students who would be unable to fully benefit from third level education without external support.
The SAF is best described as a relief fund as opposed to a survival package. Students are encouraged to source additional supports outside the fund as typically the fund will ease a financial burden rather than totally alleviating the situation.
Most colleges operate an internal application system for this fund. Most have different criteria for eligibility and some operate deadlines. Contact your Students Union or Students Services for direction.Millennium Partnership Fund
The Millennium Partnership Fund is available to students from Pobal-funded Partnership and Community Partnership areas to support their retention and participation in further and/or higher education.
Students who are in need of additional assistance in completing further and/or higher education studies may apply to the Partnership or Community Partnership in the area where they have been awarded a Local Authority or VEC grant. The following supports are generally available under the Fund but it is advisable to check with the local group for confirmation:
- Financial supports to meet participation costs
- Provision of Information e.g. guidance and mentoring
- Study supports including tuition and study skills.
There are a variety of closing dates, criteria for eligibility and application processes for the Millennium Partnership Fund so you should check with your local Partnership Group.Back to Education Allowance
The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is an educational opportunities scheme for students over 21 years of age, unemployed people or lone parents. It allows people in receipt of certain social welfare payments to retain those payments whilst participating in approved full-time courses in further and higher education.
If a student with a disability wishes to avail of this scheme then they must be in receipt of a disability benefit. The funding will cover full time education and will cover a higher diploma in education and a post-graduate diploma in primary education.
For Further Information
Student Support Unit (Department of Education)
Call: +353 (0) 57 9321363