CAO 2017: Am I eligible for a student grant?

Last year, about 40% of college applicants were entitled to financial assistance from Susi

With the rising cost of accommodation a decisive factor in students’ ability to sustain themselves through college, securing financial support could be crucial in deciding whether it is affordable to accept a place.

The good news for many students is that the State's grants agency Susi (Student Universal Support Ireland) is making college attainable for growing numbers of students.

Last year about 40 per cent of students were entitled to grants. The online application system for the 2017/18 academic year opened on April 3rd and has received 95,000 applications to date, awarding approximately 55,000 student grants.

Susi provides means-tested financial assistance to eligible students in the form of maintenance grants and/or fees (or student contribution, where applicable).


Types of courses funded

Susi provides assistance for approved full-time education in further education (Post-Leaving Certificate courses), higher education, postgraduate studies and, in some cases, students who wish to study outside of the State.

Eligible students attending Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) 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 that the student travels from home to college (more or less than 45km).

Eligible students attending higher education, as well as receiving the maintenance grant, also have their fees/student contribution covered, whichever applies to the student. The value of the student contribution for the 2017/18 academic year is €3,000.

Mature students going back to study, where they are in receipt of a "back to education" allowance from the Department of Social Protection, are not eligible for a Susi maintenance grant.

Studying outside the State

Eligible students attending approved courses in approved institutions outside of the State at undergraduate level may receive a maintenance grant.

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. (For more information, visit

Following the first round of CAO offers last Monday, Susi has received numerous queries from students who are going to attend different courses from the ones that they stated in their original Susi applications.

A Susi spokesperson said that if an applicant opted in on their CAO application to allow their information to be shared with Susi, then they do not need to do anything.

“We will receive these details directly from the CAO. If you have already been awarded a student grant for your first choice of course you will receive an updated grant award letter when we receive details of your accepted course through the CAO,” the spokesperson said.

If you didn’t opt in, you will need to submit an online final course acceptance form through your online Susi account.

Similarly, if you were awarded a grant to study at undergraduate level but didn’t receive an offer through the CAO and will instead be attending a PLC course, you will need to inform Susi by submitting an online final course acceptance form.

The first maintenance payment dates for grants for higher education is September 22nd, and October 20th for further education.

Students must be confirmed registered by their institutions to Susi before they can receive any payments.

Maintenance payments are paid in nine monthly instalments directly into the students’ bank accounts, while the fees/student contribution is paid directly to the institutions.

Is it too late to apply for financial support?

No, the system is open until early November; however, Susi prioritises applications by the date that they are received, so students who have not yet done so should apply as soon as possible. (For more information, visit