Student Assistance Fund



The Student Assistance Fund provides financial support to full or part-time students who are experiencing financial difficulties while attending college. Students can apply for the Student Assistance Fund to help with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. The Student Assistance Fund is designed to provide a source of financial support in addition to a SUSI grant.

What can I use it for?

The Student Assistance Fund is available to help with costs such as:

  • books and class materials
  • rent, heating and lighting bills
  • food
  • essential travel
  • childcare costs
  • medical costs

The above list is not exhaustive, however it is important that the nature of the expenditure for which assistance is being provided is clearly identified.

What costs are not covered?

Tuition fees, registration fees, student loan repayments or any costs borne by your college are not covered by the Student Assistance Fund.

Who can apply?

Students on full- or part-time courses leading to a higher education award (National Framework of Qualifications level 6-10) in Irish universities, institutes of technology and other approved colleges can apply. The Student Assistance Fund is not available to students in further education or post-leaving certificate colleges.

Students who are lone parents are encouraged to apply as additional funding has been made available to support this group. Support from the Student Assistance Fund may also be available to students studying for a Professional Master of Education, for example to cover the cost of spending time in the Gaeltacht.

Which colleges participate in the Student Assistance Fund?

  • Universities

    • Dublin City University
    • Maynooth University
    • National University of Ireland, Galway
    • Trinity College Dublin
    • University College Cork
    • University College Dublin
    • University of Limerick
    • Technological University Dublin
  • Institutes of technology

    • Athlone Institute of Technology
    • Cork Institute of Technology
    • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design & Technology
    • Dundalk Institute of Technology
    • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
    • Institute of Technology, Carlow
    • Institute of Technology, Sligo
    • Institute of Technology, Tralee
    • Letterkenny Institute of Technology
    • Limerick Institute of Technology
    • Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Other colleges

    • Marino Institute of Education
    • Mary Immaculate College
    • National College of Art and Design
    • National College of Ireland
    • St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
    • Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
    • St Angela’s College

How do I apply?

If you are in financial difficulty, you should contact the access or student services office in your college for more information on how to apply for the Student Assistance Fund. It is important to apply as soon as you can. Some colleges have a closing date for applications and you should check when this is.

What documentation do I need to apply?

Your college will advise you on the documentation needed to support your application to the Student Assistance Fund. This may include proof of your own or your parents’ income, as appropriate, and receipts for costs such as rent, bills or childcare.

Is it confidential?

The Student Assistance Fund is administered on a strictly confidential basis by your college. Any information you provide as part of your application is protected under the data protection regulations of your college*.

How will my application be assessed?

Your individual circumstances and financial means will be taken into consideration by your college when assessing your application to the Student Assistance Fund. Final decisions on awards may be taken by a small committee, including the access officer and student welfare officer.

What are the funding amounts?

Funding amounts vary and will be determined by your college following an assessment process.

* To comply with European Social Fund reporting and audit requirements, colleges return data on recipients of the Student Assistance Fund to the Higher Education Authority.

The Student Assistance Fund is managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. The Student Assistance Fund is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.