Sunday, 20 August, 2017

What Next : What financial supports are available?

Grants and funding for adult learners


General education and training allowances

As well as introducing some new measures to address rising unemployment, the government has reduced some payments. Allowances to participants in VTOS, and Youthreach have been reduced in line with the appropriate social welfare rates or FÁS trainee allowances. Check with the Department of Social Protection for information on your benefits. Visit for more information. 

The Free Fees Initiative

This is a state sponsored scheme. The state pays for the tuition fees of eligible students who are attending full-time third level education for the first time. Learners must be taking a full-time course that is more than two years in duration and they must be an EU national. You will have to pay a Student Contribution Fee (formerly the Registration Fee) to the institution you plan to attend before commencing, if you don't qualify for a maintenance grant. Prospective learners should contact the institution to see how much this costs. Prospective adult learners from outside of Ireland should visit  to find out if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The Free Fees Initiative only applies to full time courses, if you intend taking a degree part time, then you are currently required to pay full fees.

The Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for full-time higher education to students who are experiencing financial difficulties whilst attending college. Students can apply for assistance to help them with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. The Student Assistance Fund provides a further source of funding for higher education students in addition to the student grant.

Students in need of financial support can then make application in the college for assistance under the Fund. The Student Assistance Fund is not available in further education/PLC colleges. To assess your eligibility for the Fund you need to be aware of the main conditions of the programme. You can check your eligibility with a 6-step guide on

Tax Relief

Tax relief can be claimed on tuition fees. Applicants are advised to contact their local tax office in relation to this and to note that the course must be delivered through or in conjunction with an approved institution. For more information visit: 

Many universities and institutions offer bursaries so it is useful to keep to regularly check the institutions website for new funding opportunities.  When researching finance options have a look in their fees and funding section for up to date information, also visit and for the latest information and advice.


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Last Updated: 15/08/2013 ^ back to top