Featured Advice
What are your interests?

Investigative?

Investigative

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Leaving Cert 2018

Grants and Scholarships

The cost of a third-level education is considerable. Parents may be torn between wanting to do the best for their son or daughter and keeping a firm rein on the family and household finances. Students too may be concerned about the financial burden.

Seeking the advice of friends or relations that have been through the college experience is invaluable at this stage. However, practical planning, a realistic budget, foresight, and common sense are also important.

SUSI

There is a single grant awarding authority for all Further Education (PLC) and Higher Education (Undergraduate) courses called Student Universal Support Ireland - also known as SUSI. Eligibility for a grant is calculated on the basis of family income. Several factors are taken into account and the system is designed to be as fair as possible. 

Students can check if they are eligible for a grant using the SUSI eligibility reckoner available here. If eligible, application for the grant is through SUSI. 

For more information click here.

Scholarships
Scholarships are a great way of accessing funding to help manage the costs of Higher Education. There are many scholarships available at third-level institutions around the country. These include, but are not limited to, academic, sports, performing arts, and equality opportunities scholarships.

To see the full list of scholarships available, try our scholarship search engine here.

TU Dublin COST OF LIVING 


If you are unsure of how much things may cost when you are making a budget, check out TU Dublin's great guide to the cost of living for a student in Ireland for 2019/20.
TU Dublin Cost of Living Guide

In the section below we address some of the questions parents and students often ask at this time. See also Grants & Finance.

FAQs

How much is it going to cost?

Talking through the financial implications, as you judge appropriate for your family, is always helpful in working out a realistic budget for the months and years at college. Here are some pointers:

Registration Fee

Colleges charge an annual student contribution commonly known as a Registration Fee or Student Contribution Charge, which all students must pay*. It covers student services and exam fee costs.

The amount of the student contribution varies from one institution to another. The standard rate is currently €3,000.

Tuition Fees

Most undergraduate students attending publicly funded third-level courses do not have to pay tuition fees, as these come under the terms of the Free Fees Initiative. The tuition fees are paid directly to the college concerned by the Department of Education and Skills. 


PLC Courses

Charges for Post-Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs) operate under slightly different rules. Registration fees apply, but there are no fees for tuition. Students are liable for a €200 participation contribution, imposed on all PLC courses. The following categories of student are exempt from paying the contribution:

  • Full current medical card holders in their own right and their dependent children.
  • Those who are eligible under the student grant Scheme
  • Those in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance or VTOS allowances.
Students must also cover the cost of the various student services - examination fees, insurance, registration charges, books, and where required - uniforms and specialised equipment. 

Private Colleges

Free fees do not apply to courses in private colleges, whether they have Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) approval or not. The fact that a course is listed by the Central Applications Office (CAO) is not, in itself, enough to make it a free fees course.
Private colleges charge full tuition fees. For exact figures check individual college websites.

[See also SUSI Grant Scheme and check if Fees are Tax Deductible]

Accommodation Costs

For students who are likely to be living away from home, on-campus accommodation, student villages or halls of residence are often the best choice for 1st year, as these offer a comfortable bridge between home and the independence of living in a flat or apartment. Check individual college websites for details.

Living Expenses

Students will also need to budget for weekly living expenses for an academic year (a nine-month period from September to May). 

Things to consider: rent, supermarket shopping, meals on campus, electricity/heating bills, refuse bills, parking fees, mobile phone costs, travel, clothing, snacks on campus, socialising, health, books and materials,
laptop, course related travel and field trips, Erasmus year or internship abroad. 

Check out this student budget calculator

Parents that have been through the process suggest it’s a good idea to be prepared for a few unexpected expenses along the way.


Student Loans

Some colleges are now offering student loan systems (e.g. TCD ) which are designed to ease the burden of payment for the student contribution charge.

Note: *If you are getting the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) you may qualify for exemption from the student contribution. 

Part time job or not?

This is ultimately up to the individual young person. Many college courses involve intensive programmes of lectures, practicals, study and assignments, leaving just about enough time for sports and leisure activities and some socialising. The additional income from a part time job is always welcome in a student pocket but the longer term focus will be on achieving a good degree and drawing the maximum benefit from college life.

Building up employability skills through part time work will no doubt be beneficial for a students future career path and so will always be worthwhile.  

If the student can access relevant internship or paid work that directly links into their career plans or gives them the chance to put learning into practice, this can be a valuable asset in CV and job application terms further down the line. 

How can we establish if our son / daughter is eligible for a grant?

Students can check if they are eligible for a grant using the SUSI ready reckoner available here. If eligible, application for the grant is through SUSI. 

SUSI stands for Student Universal Support Ireland. Students who are eligible for a grant under the scheme may qualify for a maintenance and a fee grant. 
Eligibility for a grant is calculated on the basis of family income. Several factors are taken into account and the system is designed to be as fair as possible. 

View quick guide on How SUSI operates.

All the information you need is at www.studentfinance.ie

Advice: Watch out for grant application deadlines and securing the correct documentation in time. [More]

We are not eligible for a grant as we are just slightly over the income limit. What financial supports are there in this case?

Watch out for college scholarships, funding programmes and a range of additional financial supports in college. You will find information about these on college websites and at the section on 'Grants & Scholarships' and visit  Student Finance for more information.

Some banks such as Bank of Ireland offer a 'College Finance Loan' to parents or guardians of students to borrow each year, the cost of their son or daughter’s Student Contribution Charges. The total amount required depends on the duration of the course, ranging from 1 to 4 years.

Is it true that having to repeat a year at college will incur the full tuition fee for the repeated year?

Unfortunately if a student fails a year, they are liable for the cost of full tuition fees for the year they must repeat. Full tuition fees are significantly higher than the standard registration fee.

If a student decides to drop out of a course part way through the year and start again the following september either on the same course or a different course there will be financial consequences. 

The student must first write formally to the registrar in their college advising them that they wants to withdraw immediately. 

Each college receives about €4,000 in funding per student each year from the Higher Education Authority (HEA)

This is paid in two tranches, with the second chunk paid from February 1st. The HEA will only pay this sum to a college on behalf of a student once. This means repeat students end up footing this bill.
 
If you pay half the registration fees in September and then offically leave your course before February 1st you will not be billed with the remaining €1,500 balance of the €3,000 college registration fee.

How do we apply for SUSI?

There is a single grant awarding authority for all Further Education (PLC) and Higher Education (Undergraduate) courses called Student Universal Support Ireland - also known as SUSI.

Eligibility for a grant is calculated on the basis of family income. Several factors are taken into account and the system is designed to be as fair as possible. 

Students can check if they are eligible for a grant using the SUSI ready reckoner available here. If eligible, application for the grant is through SUSI. 

View quick guide to How SUSI operates.

All the information you need is at www.studentfinance.ie 

Advice: Watch out for grant application deadlines and securing the correct documentation in time. [More]

Ten Top Tips for Grant Application

  • Where possible, complete the grant application together with your son/daughter, parent/guardian.
  • Have your PPS number to hand (Student and Parent)
  • You will also need accurate information relating to your income for previous year e.g. P21 / P60.
  • Timing - Apply As soon as possible - applications open in early April and remain open all summer and into the beginning of the college term. You will need to contact SUSI for late grant application details.
  • It is possible to apply for a grant before final selection of course or college.
  • Set aside a suitable time to complete the form. It takes less than half an hour to complete.
  • Once the form is submitted, it will not be possible to make changes.
  • Establish the correct category of student (dependent students are assessed on parents' income).
  • Establish the correct family income band.
  • Remember there are two separate grant maintenance rates:
    • Adjacent rate - this is for students living less than 45 kilometres from the college they plan to attent
    • Non-adjacent rate - this is for students living more than 45 kilometres away from the college