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Reduced Points - Are you eligible for HEAR?

What is the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)?
HEAR is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible students compete for a quota of reduced points places in the colleges that run the scheme.

Who is HEAR for?
School leavers who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education and who come from socio-economic groups in Irish society that are underrepresented in third level.

Why was HEAR set up?
To tackle educational disadvantage. Socio-economic disadvantage negatively impacts on educational attainment at school and affects progression by some second level students to third level. Research in Ireland shows that for example, the son/daughter of an unskilled manual worker (e.g. factory worker) is less likely to progress to higher education than the son/daughter of a higher professional (e.g. doctor).

What does "reduced points" mean? 
Applicants eligible for HEAR may gain entry to college courses on less than the full CAO points. For example, a course that is 450 points through CAO may be offered to a HEAR student with 410 Leaving Certificate points. All HEAR students must however meet college matriculation and specific course entry requirements where they apply.

Which colleges run HEAR?
Dublin City University
Dublin Institute of Technology
NUI Galway
NUI Maynooth
Trinity College Dublin,
University College Dublin,
University College Cork,
University of Limerick,
Colaiste Mhuire, Marino Institute of Education,
Church of Ireland College of Education,
Mary Immaculate College, Limerick,
Mater Dei Institute of Education,
National College of Ireland
Pontifical University, Maynooth
St. Angela’s College, Sligo,
St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

This means students can apply through HEAR for the quota of places in any of these colleges.

How many places are there for HEAR students each year?
Each of the colleges set aside a quota of places for HEAR students each year. In 2009, 871 students accepted places in the participating colleges through HEAR. For further information on the number of places available in particular institutions or courses, please contact the access office in the college of your choice.

How can you tell if someone is from an underrepresented group or not?
Each HEAR applicant is assessed in relation to six indicators (criteria). Each applicant must meet at least three of the indicators in order to be eligible for the scheme. Only certain combinations of the indicators make an applicant eligible. Every applicant must meet Indicator 1 in order to be considered. The indicators are:

Indicator 1 Low Income - Is the household income below the HEAR Income threshold (in the relevant year)?
Indicator 2 Social Welfare – Is the applicant’s mother/father/guardian in receipt of a means-tested social welfare payment (for a minimum of 26 weeks in the relevant year)?
Indicator 3 Medical Card - Is the applicant or his/her mother/father/guardian in receipt of a medical card (in date on 31st December 2010)?
Indicator 4 Socio-Economic Grouping (based on occupation and employment status) – Is the applicant a member of a group underrepresented in higher education?
Indicator 5 DEIS School – Did the applicant attend a school part of the Department of Education & Science “DEIS” scheme (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) for the duration of their second level education?
Indicator 6 Geographical Area – Does the applicant live in an area of concentrated disadvantage?

The combinations for eligibility are:

INDICATOR 1 plus 2 plus 4 or 5 or 6
INDICATOR 1 plus 3 plus 4 or 5 or 6
INDICATOR 1 plus 4 plus 5 or 6
INDICATOR 1 plus 5 plus 6

If you think that you meet Indicator 1 plus any other two indicators then you may be part of an underrepresented group and you should apply.

Further Information here.

Reduced Points - Are you Eligible for DARE?

Find out if you are eligible for getting places on courses with reduced points.

To apply for DARE you must indicate that you have a disability or specific learning difficulty on your Central Applications Office (CAO) application form by Tuesday, 1 March 2011. You must also complete Section A of a separate Supplementary Information Form by 1 March 2011

DARE criteria

All students with a disability, irrespective of whether they come through DARE or not, are offered a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. Individual institutions will determine the nature and delivery of such supports in accordance with their own policies and practices and subject to the availability of resources.

The following are examples of the types of supports available:

  • An orientation programme to introduce students to university/college
  • Study skills, extra tuition if required and exam support
  • Access to assistive technology and training
  • One-to-one meetings with support staff, social gatherings and mentoring


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