Student Finance

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
  • Universities

    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
  • Other Colleges

    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
  • PLC Colleges

    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:

Immigration Status
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



    Tablet computers

    Assistive software

  • Personal and Academic Support

    ISL Speedtext

    Notetakers/Electronic notetakers

    Alternative Format

    Personal Assistants


    Study skills/ learning support

    Tuition – study specific tuition



  • Transport

    Targeted Transport

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.


Further Information

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)