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Sustainable Energy Authority

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Disadvantaged Access - HEAR

Video: How to apply to HEAR 2017

What is HEAR?     

HEAR is not a grant scheme - it is an admissions route into college for school leavers who, for social, financial or cultural reasons, are under-represented in third level education.

Colleges participating in the scheme set aside a quota of places with reduced points and make these available to eligible students.

The HEAR scheme is aimed at eligible students that have ability, motivation and the potential to succeed at Third Level. The purpose of the scheme is to broaden college access for students from under-represented sectors of society.

Who can apply to HEAR?

HEAR is for school leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2017 who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR applicants must meet a range of financial, social and cultural indicators to be considered for a reduced points place and extra college support.

What are the Key Benefits?

  • Entry into a broad range of courses on reduced CAO points
  • A wide range of post-entry supports for eligible students

In Brief ...

HEAR applicants are assessed under 6 headings or indicators:

1. Income: Is your household income on or below the HEAR income threshold in the year prior to application?

2. Medical/GP Visit Card: Does your family have a Medical card or a GP Visit card?

3. Social welfare: Has your family received a means-tested social welfare payment from the DSP in the year before your application?

4. Socio-economic Group: Do you belong to a group that is under-represented in Higher Education?

5. DEIS: Does your child attend a DEIS school? 

6. Area: Do you live in an area with high unemployment, poverty and limited community facilities?

To be eligible under the HEAR scheme, you must meet Indicator 1 above plus 2 other indicators. Applicants must also meet the minimum entry requirements to the colleges of their choice.


How does the application process work?

  • Leaving Cert Students must apply online to the CAO by 1st February
  • Applicants must indicate their intention to apply as a HEAR applicant on the CAO form, before 1st March deadline and complete all parts of the HEAR form
  • Relevant evidence and supporting documents must arrive in the CAO office no later than 1st April
  • Applicants will be told whether or not they iare eligible for the HEAR scheme in Mid June
  • If successful in gaining a college place on the HEAR scheme, applicants will be informed when the CAO offers come out in August.

Current information on the HEAR application process, details of the Eligibility Criteria and Income Levels can  be found in the 2017 HEAR Information Leaflet here.

Key Points

1. Start gathering important documentation as early as possible

2. HEAR applications need to be completed carefully. It is a good idea for Applicants and Parents to work through the process together where possible.

3. HEAR run application clinics and information sessions for both parents and students – so keep an eye out for these.

HEAR application and advice clinics will take place nationwide in January 2017.

Click here for locations and times.

4. College Access offices are also very helpful. 

5. Keep a close eye on dates and deadlines and how the application is progressing.

6. Eligible students can apply for both HEAR and DARE. Applicants who are eligible for both schemes will be prioritised.

Key Dates for HEAR applicants 2017

  • Be under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2017
  • Apply online to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February 2017. CAO applications open on 4 November 2016 at 12 noon.
  • No later than 17:15 on 1 March 2017, indicate in your CAO application that you wish to apply for the HEAR scheme and fully and correctly complete all elements of the online HEAR application form. Once you have completed the HEAR application form you will get a checklist which tells you which documents you need to supply.
  • Post your supporting documents to arrive in CAO no later than 17:15 on 1 April 2017.
You can check eligiblity for both HEAR and DARE by going to www.accesscollege.ie