Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.
We asked Patricia Cleary from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
Be open to new possibilities – I never dreamed in secondary school that I would like Biochemistry so you never know what you might like until you try!
What are your interests?
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The student grant is the main source of financial help available to eligible students in full-time Post Leaving Certificate Courses (PLCs) and full-time higher education undergraduate courses.
Who can apply for a grant?
Students attending higher education undergraduate and postgraduate courses (Level 6-9)
Students attending Further Education (PLC) courses (Level 5-6) can get financial support through SUSI.
Itis made up of 2 components:
A Maintenance Grant
A Fee Grant
The Maintenance Grant is a contribution towards the student’s living costs, while the Fee Grant can cover any of the following 3 elements:
Student contribution and
Cost of essential field trips
In general, if you qualify for a maintenance grant you will also qualify for whatever elements of a fee grant applies to your situation.
Thegrant scheme ismeans-tested. This means that grant rates for qualifying students vary according to a number of factors including:
Family size and
Whether the student's college is close to their permanent residence
The Means Test
The means test for a student grant in 2019-2020 is based on your family's gross income for the previous complete tax year unless you, or your family, have had a change of circumstances since the end of the last tax year, (which is likely to be permanent). In this case, your changed circumstances may be taken into account.
Reckonable income for a student grant is considered to be the gross (before tax) family income from all sources. Some social welfare payments are excluded from 'reckonable income' for the purposes of student grants - more details on susi.ie and also detailed in the Student Grant Scheme (pdf).
If you were ordinarily living at home with your parents from October 1 of the year before the year of entry to the course, you are considered dependent on your parents. In this case, your income (if any) is assessed together with your parents' income(s).
An allowance is made for your earnings outside of term-time (up to €4,500). Outside term time is counted as 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks at Easter and 12 weeks during the summer months of June, July and August. (Holiday pay earned outside these periods may also be allowed by the grant awarding authority on receipt of a letter from the school/college confirming the exact dates of term).
Income limits for maintenance grant and full fee grant
Fewer than 4
4 - 7
8 or more
The family income limits for eligibility for a maintenance grant in 2019-2020 set out above are applied afteryour means are assessed - see also 'Means test'. The income limits also apply to the fee grant (that is, if you don't qualify for the free fees scheme and are eligible for a fee grant).
Income limits for partial fee grant
50% tuition fees
& 100% student
Fewer than 4
4 - 7
8 or more
The 50% tuition fee is not payable if your fees are covered under the Free Fees Scheme
The Student Grant Scheme is quite a detailed application process [see below for list of documents required]. It is crucial that you apply as early as possible if you plan to take-up a course of study.
Grant applications are processed in the order in which they are received - the earlier you apply and submit any supporting documents required to SUSI, the earlier you will have a response on the outcome of your application.
SUSI is the centralised online system for processing grant applications.
To view the online SUSI application form click here.
RATES OF PAYMENT
These are the current rates for the Maintenance Grants, but they can change. Be sure to check https://susi.ie/ regularly for any changes.
Part maintenance (75%)
Part maintenance (50%)
Part maintenance (25%)
Adjacent and non-adjacent rates
The adjacent rate of maintenance grant is payable for those students who live 45 kilometres or less from the college being attended. This rate applies to all students living within the specified distance, including all mature students, both dependent and independent.
The non-adjacent rate applies to everyone else.
Grant Award Payments are made as follows:
Maintenance Grants: are paid in three or nine monthly instalments into your own bank account by EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer).
Fee Grants: Directly to the college/institution you will attend, on your behalf, once the college has confirmed your registration as a student.
NB: Before making an application, students are encouraged to refer to the General Criteria and to use the Eligibility Reckonerprovided on the SUSI website. The eligibility reckoner is provided by SUSI to assist students in deciding whether they should apply for a student grant. It provides a quick indication of eligibility for grant funding based on the answers given to 10 questions without completing and submitting a full online grant application.
If you are doing a Further Education (FE) course and getting the BTEA or a VTOS allowance you are exempt from the new student participant charge (€200). You may have to pay a course charge for books, exam fees and other costs.
When will SUSI be open for 2019/20 applications?
The SUSI online Student Grant Application System for the 2019/2020 academic year opened on 11th April, 2019.
Students can continue to apply for grant right up to the first term of the college year.
Other useful information about applying for agrant:
There is a lot of paperwork involved in applying for a grant so start gathering this information as soon as possible! You will ultimately need an offer from the college in question, however, you do not need to wait until after the Leaving Cert results to begin the process of getting all necessary paperwork together. These will include:
Documentary evidence of reckonable income: P60, P21, P45
Documentary evidence for social welfare payments
Documentary evidence for self-employment, rental income, savings, deposit accounts, income from maintenance agreements, inheritance.
Course Acceptance Form
Note: SUSI assesses income from the previous year as part of its assessment criteria. [Income assessed for the 2019/20 academic year will be gross income for 2018].
Where there is self-employed, farming or rental income, SUSI requires a full set of trading accounts for the previous year. SUSI also requires an acknowledgement of self-assessment (received from the Revenue Commissioners on submission of tax returns). SUSI cannot fully process applications without this information, therefore such tax returns should be made early in 2019. Full details are available here.
On initial assessment of your application, if you are considered to be eligible, you will receive a provisional grant approval letter, together with a list of the supporting documents that you need to submit, relavant to your particular application. Send the necessary documents in the envelope provided as soon as possible. You should include photocopies, not originals, as thse will not be returned.
Final Course Acceptance (FCA) Form
As a new grant applicant, you do not need to have accepted a place on a college course in order to apply for a grant. However you will need to inform SUSI that you have been offered and accepted a place on a course before your application can be finalised. You can do this in the following ways:
Online SUSI Grant Application
You can confirm that you have accepted a place on a course when you first submit your online grant application and provide details of your chosen course in section C3 of the online grant application form.
If you have allowed CAO (Central Applications Office) to share your information with SUSI, CAO will inform SUSI of this and will confirm details of your chosen course to SUSI when you have accepted a CAO place offer
Online SUSI Final Course Acceptance (FCA) Form
You can inform SUSI that you have accepted a place on a course after you have submitted your grant application by submitting an online FCA form through the homepage of your SUSI account.
If you subsequently accept a place on a different course, or on a course not offered to you through the CAO, you can submit a new online FCA form at any time through the homepage of your SUSI account. Your application will be decided on the basis of the most recent course details provided to SUSI by any of the above methods. Please note that grants can only be awarded in respect of approved course.