On behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, the HEA manages two funds that are designed to enable students from the equity of access target groups to participate in higher education: the Fund for Students with Disabilities and the Student Assistance Fund.
Student Assistance Fund
The Student Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for full-time higher education students who are experiencing financial difficulties whilst attending college. Students can apply for Student 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 apply to their higher education institution directly for this funding.
Fund for Students with Disabilities
The Fund for Students with Disabilities allocates funding to further and higher education colleges for the provision of services and supports to full-time students with disabilities. The Fund aims to ensure that students can participate fully in their academic programmes and are not disadvantaged by reason of a disability.
Eligible students can receive assistance from the Fund from PLC level right up to doctoral level. Application for the first time can be made during any year of study on an approved course at further or higher education level.
A claim under the Fund is made on behalf of an eligible student by their college following an assessment of need. Applications cannot be made directly to the Fund by students. Colleges are also responsible for the management of the funding approved for eligible students.