The Fund for Students with Disabilities allocates funding to further and higher education colleges for the provision of services and supports to full-time and part-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. You do not have to be in first year of a course to be eligible to apply for the Fund*. 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. Students supported under the Fund for Students with Disabilities are not means-tested. A minimum age for application applies, however. Students with disabilities enrolled in access or foundation courses in higher education institutions or short courses are not eligible for consideration under the Fund.
Inclusion of Supports for Learners on Part-time Higher Education Courses
In 2018 following the recommendation of the review of the Fund on the inclusion of learners on part-time courses, on a pilot basis in 2018, higher education institutions may include costs of supporting learners who participate on a part-time basis. These costs can include pilot projects within higher education institutions to prepare for the full inclusion of learners on part-time courses in the future.
To work out whether you may be eligible for the Fund you need to be aware of the main conditions of the programme. The information below will assist you in this process. Each section below will guide you through the eligibility requirements of the fund.
The Fund for Students with Disabilities is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Program for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014 – 2020’.
*Closing dates apply each year
Check Participating Colleges and Approved Courses
The Fund for Students with Disabilities covers most full-time PLC, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in Ireland. In addition, eligible students pursuing many full-time undergraduate or postgraduate courses in Northern Ireland can be supported under the Fund. Lastly, eligible students pursuing full-time undergraduate courses in publicly funded institutions in the European Union can also be considered.
In this section, you can find out which colleges are approved under the Fund.
- Further Education Colleges in Ireland
- Universities in Ireland
- Institutes of Technology in Ireland
- Other Higher Education Institutions in Ireland
- Universities in Northern Ireland
- Other Colleges in Northern Ireland
- Higher Education Colleges in Britain and other EU Member States
Dublin City University Maynooth University National University of Ireland, Galway Trinity College Dublin University College Cork University College Dublin University of Limerick
Institute of Technology
Athlone Institute of Technology Cork Institute of Technology Dublin Institute of Technology Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design & Technology Dundalk Institute of Technology Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Institute of Technology Blanchardstown Institute of Technology, Carlow Institute of Technology, Sligo Institute of Technology, Tallaght Institute of Technology, Tralee Letterkenny Institute of Technology Limerick Institute of Technology Waterford Institute of Technology
Marino Institute Law Society of Ireland Carlow College (St Patricks) St Patrick’s College, Thurles Shannon College of Hotel Management Mary Immaculate College National College of Art and Design St Angela’s College National College of Ireland
UK and Other EU Colleges
Aberystwyth University Anglia Ruskin University Bangor University Birmingham City University Bishop Burton College Bournemouth University Brunel University Bridgewater College Buckinghamshire New University Canterbury Christ Church University Cardiff Metropolitan University Cardiff University College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise Coventry University De Montfort University Edge Hill University Edinburgh Napier University and University of Edinburgh Falmouth University Glasgow School of Art Harper Adams University College Kingston University Liverpool John Moores University London South Bank University Manchester Metropolitan University Middlesex University Northumbria University Oxford Brookes University Plymouth University Queen Margaret University College Queens University Belfast Robert Gordon University Royal Veterinary College Scotlands Rural College (SRUC) Southampton Solent University St George’s University College St. Mary’s University College Teeside University Ulster University University of Creative Arts University of Bedfordshire University of Bradford University of Brighton University of Cambridge University of Chester University of Central Lancashire University of Cumbria University of Dundee University of East Anglia University of East London University of Greenwich University of Hertfordshire University of Leeds University of Liverpool
University of London
University of Newcastle University of Northampton University of Portsmouth University of Salford University of South Wales (USW) University of Southampton University of Sunderland University of St Andrews University of St. Mark and St. John University of Stirling University of the Arts London University of the West of England University of Wales Trinty St. David (Swansea Metropolitan Campus) University of Wales,Trinity St. David (Carmarthen) University of Wolverhampton University of York York St John University
Ballsbridge College of Further Education Ballyfermot College of Further Education Colaiste Dhulaigh College of FE Colaiste Ide College of FE Crumlin College of Further Studies Inchicore College of Further Education Killester College Kylemore College Liberties College Marino College Pearse College Plunket College Rathmines College of Further Education Ringsend College St. Kevin’s College Whitehall College of Further Education Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí Coláiste Stiofain Naofa Cork College of Commerce Kinsale College Mallow College of Further Education McEgan College St John’s Central College St. Colman’s Community College Terence Mac Swiney Community College Cavan Institute Monaghan Institute Blackrock Further Education Institute (BFEI) College of Further Education Dundrum Collinstown Park Community College Deansrath Community College Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute (DFEI) Grange Community College Greenhills College Sallynoggin College of Further Education Stillorgan College of Further Education Errigal College Finn Valley College St. Catherine’s Vocational School Abbey Community College Clarin College Athenry Coláiste an Chreagáin Galway Community College Galway Technical Institute Roscommon Community College Carlow Institute of Further Education Coláiste Eoin Coláiste Mhuire Duiske College Grennan College Kilkenny City Vocational School (Ormonde CFE) Muine Bheag Vocational School Scoil Aireagail Coláiste na Sceilge Kerry College of Further Education Killarney Community College North Kerry College of Further Education Bray Inst of Further Education Colaiste Bhride Confey Community College Curragh Post-Primary School Glenart College Scoil Chonglais St. Conleth’s Community College St. Farnan’s Post Primary School St. Kevin’s Community College Colaiste Chiarain Croom Coláiste Iosaef Kilmalock Ennis Community College Ennistymon Vocational School Hazelwood College Limerick College of Further Education Beaufort College Drogheda Institute of Further Education Dunboyne College of Further Education O’Fiach College Abbeyleix FE & Training Centre Portlaoise College Tullamore Further Education Centre Ardscoil Phádraig Athlone Community College Columba College Kilucan Mullingar Community College Temple Michael College Castlebar College of Further Education (Davitt College) Coláiste Chomáin Ros Dumach Lough Allen College Moyne College North Connaught College Sligo College of Further Education (Ballinode CC) St. Tiernan’s College Westport College of Further Education Central Technical Institute Coláiste Dún Iascaigh Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed Coláiste Phobail Roscré Nenagh College of Further Education Newport College (St. Joseph’s College) St. Ailbe’s School Templemore College of Further Education Bridgetown College Bunclody Vocational College Colaiste an Atha Coláiste Chathail Naofa Enniscorthy Vocational College Kennedy College New Ross Selskar College St. Paul’s Community College Waterford College of Further Education Ballyhaunis Community School Cabinteely Community School Castlecomer Community School Castlerea Community School Central College Limerick Coláiste Mhuire Dunmore Community School Glenamaddy Community School Gorey Community School Jesus and Mary Secondary School Kilrush Community School Kinsale Community School Mary Immaculate Secondary School Mercy College Moate Business College (Community School) Our Lady’s Secondary School Ramsgrange Community School Sancta Maria College Scoil Phobail Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara St Cuan’s College St Louis Comm School St. Joseph’s College Summerhill St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School Shannon The Donahies Community School The Donaghies Tullow Community School
Check Your Eligibility
To be eligible for support under the Fund for Students with Disabilities, a learner on an approved course must meet all the following conditions:
Have a verifiable disability in one or more of the categories as outlined below;
As a result of the disability have a need for specific supports and/or assistance arising from study or attendance on the chosen course;
Meet the Residency and Nationality/Immigration Status as outlined below.
In order to be eligible for support under the Fund, a student must be legally resident in Ireland for at least 3 of the 5 years up to the day before her/his approved course commences in an approved institution. If the student does not qualify at the beginning of your course, it is possible for her/him to meet this requirement during the course of her/his studies; reviewed at the beginning of an academic year.
To qualify the student must be either:
- an Irish national,
- a national of another EU Member State, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland:
If one of the nationality categories above does not apply, then the student will need to have:
- been declared a refugee under the Refugees Act 1996, or
- admitted to Ireland as a Programme Refugee, or
- permission to remain in Ireland as a family member of a refugee under section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996, or
- been granted subsidiary protection under the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006, or
- permission in writing to enter and reside in Ireland under Regulation 16 of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006, or
- permission to remain in the State as a family member of a European Union, EEA or Swiss citizen under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2006 and 2008 and EU Directive (EU Treaty Rights provisions), or
- permission to remain because of marriage or civil partnership with an Irish national or because you are the dependent child of such person, or
humanitarian leave to remain granted before the Immigration Act 1999 came into effect, or
- permission to remain in Ireland following a decision not to deport you under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.
Eligible students need not be exclusively those in the first year of a course in 2010-11 (i.e. some students with a disability may not present with a request for supports for the first time until the second or subsequent year of their course).
Categories of Disability
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Blind/Visual Impairment
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Mental Health Condition
- Neurological Condition
- Neurologically-based Speech, Language or Communication condition
- Significant Ongoing Illness
- Physical Disability
- Developmental Coordination Disorder (Dyspraxia)
- Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia or Dyscalculia)
Check Services and Supports Funded
There are three types of assistance typically provided under the Fund for Students with Disabilities. Click on a category to find out more.
Assistive Technology Equipment and Software
Personal and Academic Support
Study skills/ learning support
Tuition – study specific tuition
Check Services and Supports not Funded
The Fund cannot:
- Grant resources for the provision of any medical equipment, assistance or support
- Grant resources for the provision of course-related equipment, materials or software
- Assist applicants with disability-related support needs which would arise whether the applicant was participating in education or not
- Grant resources for the provision of services that can reasonably be expected to be provided by the college (e.g. counselling, examination accommodations) or by another agency (e.g. local Health Service)
- Consider applications for support or assistance which relate to the period outside the academic year for the student’s course, or periods during the academic year when the college is closed
- Provide for any costs associated with assessment or diagnosis of a disability
- Provide for any costs associated with the day-to-day subsistence, transport or accommodation of academic or personal support personnel.
Check How to Apply
Unlike the Student Grant schemes, the claims process for the Fund does not generally start until you have enrolled in your course.
Application to the Fund is not made by the student, but by the college on the student’s behalf. Click on the icon below that applies to you for further specific information on how to apply.
- I am enrolled/enrolling in an approved:
- Higher Education Course in one of the Universities in Ireland or Northern Ireland
- Higher Education Course in one of the Institutes of Technology in Ireland
- Higher Education Course in a College in Ireland other than a University or an Institute of Technology
- Further Education Course in a College of Further Education in Ireland
- Higher Education Course in a Northern Ireland College of Further and Higher Education
- Higher Education Course in a Higher Education Institution in the European Union (other than Ireland or Northern Ireland)
Check the Application and Funding Process
Funding is allocated to the college, not the student. The college has full discretion in decisions on the allocation of the Fund at local level, and remains responsible for the management of the funding throughout the duration of each year. The applicants are generally not required to organise the services/supports or source equipment themselves – this is done by the college in consultation with the applicants.
There are two key stages to the claims process: a first-time claim and a claim for continuing students.
For more information please contact the participating college or institute
Check Verification of Disability
Before a first-time claim for funding can be submitted, colleges will require documentary evidence of disability from the student, which the college will verify against set criteria. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide this documentation to the college. For claims for continuing students, evidence of disability documentation is not required to be re-submitted to the college.
Those providing documentary evidence of disability must be independent of the Fund. Documentary evidence will not be accepted from persons who will or are likely to be subsequently responsible, should the application be successful, for providing learning support or other interventions which are grant-aided by the Fund.
Letters from GPs are not acceptable in any circumstances as documentary evidence of disability.
A CAO Evidence of Disability form is acceptable as documentary evidence of disability in cases other than Specific Learning Difficulties.
- Further Information on Requirements for Evidence of Disability Documentation
- Further Information on the Persons/Specialists Who Should Provide Evidence of Disability Documentation for the Various Categories of Disabilities
Other Supports and Services for Students with Disabilities
Depending on the college and the resources available, colleges may offer a range of additional services and supports above and beyond what is eligible for funding under the Fund for Students with Disabilities. These include:
- Disability service with dedicated disability support staff
- Measures to enhance the accessibility of buildings, such as wheelchair lifts
- Non-standard admissions procedures, whereby students with disabilities may be admitted to a course without necessarily having achieved the full CAO points level for that course
- Tailored induction programmes for students with disabilities or students with specific categories of disabilities
- Access to student accommodation units (on campus or otherwise) reserved specifically for students with disabilities
- Psycho-educational assessment for students experiencing problems associated with specific learning difficulties/dyslexia
Disability Access Route to Education – DARE
The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who as a result of having a disability have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.
DARE has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that disability can have a negative impact on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.
People with disabilities can find out more about what colleges can offer them through a range of sources/means, including:
- The college prospectus
- The college disability policy (local VECs are an additional source for colleges of further education)
- The college website (local VEC websites are an additional source for colleges of further education)
- AHEAD, the Association of Higher Education Access and Disability
- Disability Offices (for universities and some Institutes of Technology) or Access Offices (for most Institutes of Technology and other colleges of higher education)