CAO Countdown: Will I get a grant to cut my education costs?

More than 40% of students in higher education receive grants of various types

Grants: you can apply through the Susi website (susi.ie). There is an “eligibility reckoner” on the home page to give you an idea of whether you might be eligible for a grant.  Photograph: iStock

Grants: you can apply through the Susi website (susi.ie). There is an “eligibility reckoner” on the home page to give you an idea of whether you might be eligible for a grant. Photograph: iStock

 

Given the soaring cost of accommodation for students, a financial grant from the State’s grants agency can be a crucial factor in a student’s decision on whether to accept a course offer.

Some 43 per cent of registered students this year are in receipt of a Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) grant.

These students have their €3,000 fees/student contributions covered, while many also receive a maintenance grant.

Can I apply now?

Susi will open its online application system for the 2018/2019 academic year in early April. It typically receives up to 100,000 applications and awards approximately 55,000 student grants.

Those who tick the Susi option on their CAO application forms agree to the CAO sharing their information with Susi. This always works to students’ advantage, and enables them to secure funding as early as possible.

Susi deals with applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, it is important to apply as early as possible after the April opening date.

How to apply

You can apply through the Susi website (susi.ie). There is an “eligibility reckoner” on the home page to get an idea of whether you might be eligible for a grant.

Mature students in receipt of a back-to-education allowance from the Department of Social Protection are not eligible for a Susi maintenance grant. Postgraduate students do not receive a maintenance grant, but can receive a contribution towards fees.

For the 2018/2019 academic year, your application will be assessed on gross income from all sources for the period January 1st, 2017, to December 31st, 2017.

Where self-employed/farming/rental income forms part of the family income, students will need to submit a full set of trading accounts for 2017, plus confirmation that the tax returns for the year have been made to the Revenue Commissioners (known as an acknowledgment of self-assessment).

Susi also provides assistance for approved full-time education in further education (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 further education (typically 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 (more or less than 45km).

Eligible students at postgraduate level do not receive a maintenance grant, however, they can receive a contribution towards the cost of the postgraduate fees.

Eligible students attending approved courses in approved institutions outside of the State – at undergraduate level only – may also receive a maintenance grant. There is no funding available towards fees and it should be noted there is no funding available at further education or postgraduate education level (except for some courses in four institutions in Northern Ireland) for students studying outside the State.

CAO offers

If you opt on your application to allow the CAO share information with Susi, it will receive your offer and acceptance details directly from the CAO.

If you are awarded a student grant for your first choice of course in August, you will receive an updated grant award letter when Susi receives details of your accepted course through the CAO.

However, if you do not opt in on the CAO application, you will need to submit an online “final course acceptance form” through your 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 date for grants in the coming academic year is September 21st and for further education (PLCs) it is October 19th. For more information, visit susi.ie Tomorrow: Focus on what you want to study, not the highest points requirements