Sunday, 20 August, 2017

What Next : What financial supports are available?

BTEA- Back To Education Allowance


The Back to Education Allowance

This is a second chance educational opportunities scheme for people on welfare payments who wish to participate in full-time education. There are two options:

  • a second level option for those who didn't complete their formal secondary education
  • a third level option if you have not attended third level

From the 2011/12 academic year the Student Grant Scheme is divided into 2 components – maintenance grants and fee grants. You cannot get the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) and the maintenance component of a student grant together unless you were getting BTEA in the 2009/10 academic year and are continuing your studies or progressing to a new course.

Although you are not entitled to the maintenance component of the student grant, you must still submit a student grant application form to be assessed for a fee grant to pay your Student Contribution Fee (formerly called the student services charge), field trip costs and tuition fees (if payable).

If you are getting a One Parent Family Payment or a disability payment (Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Illness Benefit) you can choose to stay on your current social welfare payment and apply for a student grant or you can choose to transfer to the BTEA.

Who is eligible?

An applicant must be in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment (for example, Jobseeker's Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance or One Parent Family Payment) for 3 months if pursuing a 2nd level course or

  • 9 months if pursuing a 3rd level course and be at least 21 years of age prior to commencing an approved course of study
  • You must be 24 or over for a third-level postgraduate course. However, people getting an illness or disability-related payment or a person who is out of formal education for 2 years may qualify at 18 years of age
  • You may also be eligible for Back To Education Allowance if you are an adult dependent

Changes in June 2014

The Minister for Social Protection has announced a number of significant changes to the BTEA. The changes take effect from 1st June 2014 and are applicable for the coming academic year.

The key changes being introduced include:

  • BTEA can now be approved for a person who already holds a Level 5 or 6 qualification under the National Framework of Qualifications and wants to undertake another course at the same level. (This change in the progression rule only applies in certain limited circumstances)
  • Applicants for Springboard and Momentum initiatives in the forthcoming academic year will be supported under the BTE programme
  • Applicants wishing to pursue the new Professional Master’s in Education will be able to avail of the BTE programme
  • Along with these changes a revised application and selection processes will be in place, this will give a stronger role to the Department of Social Protection in working with unemployed clients who are considering undertaking a course of study.


(A recommendation to allow a person to undertake a course at the same level must be approved by their Case Officer in their local Intreo Office, they must outline the basis of the recommendation in terms of further professional/career development and their overall job prospects. The Case officer's will assess various criteria when they are deciding about a person's eligibility for BTEA)

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Last Updated: 07/07/2014 ^ back to top