CAO countdown: Getting to grips with grants

Applications to awarding authority open in April but students should do homework now

Prospective students who think they may be eligible for a grant should research their options by visiting Susi’s website. Photograph: Getty

Prospective students who think they may be eligible for a grant should research their options by visiting Susi’s website. Photograph: Getty

 

The national student grant awarding authority, Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi), will open its online application system for the 2017/2018 academic year on April 3rd.

Prospective students who think they may be eligible for a grant should research their options by visiting the authority’s website (www.susi.ie) in advance of the opening date.

What types of studies does Susi fund?

Susi provides assistance for full-time engagement in further education including post-Leaving Cert courses, higher education, postgraduate studies and – in some cases – to students who wish to study outside of the State.

Eligible students attending post-Leaving Cert courses receive a maintenance grant, the value of which is determined by the level of reckonable income in the household for the previous year and the distance the student travels from home to college.

Eligible students attending higher education, as well as receiving the maintenance grant, also have their fees or student contribution covered, depending on which applies to the student. The student contribution for the 2017/2018 academic year will be €3,000.

For mature students returning to study, it should be noted that, where they are in receipt of a back to education allowance from the Department of Social Protection, they are not eligible for a Susi maintenance grant.

This year sees the re-introduction of a maintenance grant for eligible students at postgraduate level. Susi also provides funding to eligible students at postgraduate level towards the cost of their fees.

What about students who wish to study outside the Republic?

Eligible students attending approved courses in institutions outside of the Republic, at undergraduate level only, can receive a maintenance grant from Susi.

There is no funding available towards fees and it should be noted that there is no funding available at further education or postgraduate education (except for some courses in four institutions in Northern Ireland) for students studying outside the State.

Susi has provided funding for more than 200 courses across the EU since it came into operation in 2012.

Processing system

The authority operates a priority processing system, dealing with applications in order of date received.

The national awarding authority made significant changes to its processes for the 2016/2017 academic year and will now award grants to eligible students before they receive their Leaving Cert results and CAO offers. This will enable students to make fully informed decisions as to whether to accept their course offers.

These awards are based on the course information provided to Susi by students when completing their application.

Susi and the CAO

Susi has a data-sharing agreement in place with the CAO. Students are encouraged to tick the box on their CAO application form which asks if they intend to apply for student grant funding for the 2017/2018 academic year.

The CAO passes information to Susi later in the process, when students are offered their courses.

CAO countdown: Thursday

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