Research has shown that students form certain groups are under represented in higher education. Students who Come from a background where nobody in your family ever went to university, or where there is no wage coming into the house are less likely to go to university. In part 2 of our blog posts looking at the HEAR and DARE schemes, we have a look at the HEAR scheme which aims to support those very students.
What is HEAR?
Standing for Higher Education Access Route, HEAR is a scheme which aims to improve the opportunity for school leavers, from what is termed socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to get into University or college.
Students may benefit from a reduction in points to help get your college or university place, plus, once in college or university you can access different personal and social supports, such as extra tuition.or even (if available) extra financial help with grants or scholarships.
How would I know if I am eligible for HEAR?
Visit the HEAR website at www.accesscollege.ie where you will find the range of criteria that applicants need to meet. You need to be under 23 and meet the residency rules.
There are 6 indicators from which applicants need to meet a combination of in order to be eligible. For example, everybody needs to meet the income limit, but that can be combined with having a medical/GP visit card, and attending a DEIS school.
The six indicators are:
- Income: Your family income is on or below the HEAR Income Limit
- Medical/GP Visit Card: Your family has a Medical or GP Visit Card that is in date on 31 December 2015
- Means Tested Social Welfare: Your family got a means tested social welfare payment for at least 26 weeks during 2014
- Socio-economic Group: You belong to a group that is under-represented in higher education. This based around occupation and employment status of parents or guardians. The groups are non-manual workers group and semi- and unskilled manual workers group.
- DEIS School attendance: You completed 5 years in a second level school that takes part in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) scheme run by the Dept of Education & Skills.
- Area Profile: You like in what is considered a disadvantaged area where there may be high unemployment rates (for example)
The different combinations are a mix of Indicator 1 and a combination of 2 others
How do I apply for HEAR?
Much like the DARE scheme, you need to apply through CAO by 1 February 2016, indicating you wish to access the HEAR route.
You will need to complete the HEAR application form by 1 March 2016 and you will need to have your supporting documents submitted by 1 April 2016.
What supporting documents will I need?
You will need to be able to show your family income for the previous year, so you will need either a P21 from the Revenue, or self-assessment form if your parents/guardians are self employed or engaged in farming, OR a statement from the Dept of Social Protection of your parents/guardians receive a social welfare payment.
There may be other documents needed for different individual family circumstances.
Anything else I should know?
There is plenty of support and advice available if you want to check you are doing things right. All colleges have a staff member who can advise on the HEAR Applications. The CAO Helpdesk can help.
We in the youth information service can help with applications
And of course there are the HEAR advice clinics held in various venues around the country on Saturday January 16th 2016.
The HEAR website has plenty of support documents and forms available to download – we’ve linked to them below for your benefit.
Financial support is available through the SUSI system, but that is totally separate from DARE and has its own criteria based around household incomes and progression through the education system.