Supported access routes to college are about raising third level participation rates among people from under-represented groups.
Two such initiatives for school-leavers who are applying to college through the CAO system are DARE and HEAR.
DARE is the disability access route to third level. It is a college and university admissions scheme which offers places on a reduced points basis to school leavers under 23 years old with a disability.
HEAR 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.
ACCESS Programmes and Courses
For school leavers or other people who can't get to third level by the traditional routes, many Universities and Institutes of Technology across the country offer an ACCESS course or programme of some kind. Those who successfully complete an ACCESS programme may then be able to apply to the college for a place on a third level degree course.
ACCESS courses aim to provide participating students with the skills and knowledge needed for undertaking a full-time third level course and to make the whole process of transition to third level much easier. They also help students to identify and choose the third level course that is best suited to their particular interests and abilities.
An ACCESS Course is typically designed for people whose background education was limited by socio-economic circumstance and educational disadvantage and to support them in overcoming these barriers and succeeding at third level education.