HEAR & DARE schemes 2017


HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) are schemes that seek to offer University places on reduced points or extra college support for applicants that are  coming from social or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are disadvantaged for reasons of a disability or learning difficulty.

We did a blog post last year outlining the different ways that you could apply and what the criteria was etc. There have been some changes this year to the DARE scheme, so we thought we would flag up the changes and remind people what the basic criteria was for each scheme. The blog post from last year can be found here (part 1) and here (part 2)



DARE is available for school leavers under 23 who have a disability, and that can demonstrate that the disability has a negative impact on their education. the DARE Team have a list of the types of disabilities or specific learning difficulties, along with what documentation or evidence that is needed to go with the application.



HEAR is available to school leavers under 23 who may come from social and economic backgrounds that has a negative impact on their education. Other than income, some backgrounds are under represented in university intake, so HEAR attempts to provide support to students in families that haven’t traditionally continued into higher education.

 Changes to the DARE scheme for 2017

  • This is the second year of changes to the scheme.  Some were introduced last year including a change to define the scheme as one aimed at students whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their education. With this came an evidence based Education Impact Statement. Verification of disabilities could be done by GPs from last year, and a prioritisation of students eligible for both DARE and HEAR.
  • After a review of the 2016 changes, some more adjustments have been made
  • If applying on the basis of a specific learning difficulty, psychological assessment reports can not be of any age, however, attainment scores (whether from school or psychologist) must be from after 1 Feb 2015.
  • Development Coordination Disorders are no longer required to submit a full pyscho-educational report from the previous 3 years – they can by of any ange.
  • GPs can now complete the confirmation of diagnosis.
  • Instead of a statement there is now an ‘Educational Impact Statement checklist’ that is done by the person applying alongside their teacher
  • The school section of the Education Impact Statement has been reduced, which the Scheme says will make it easier for schools to complete and for parents and applicants to understand.
  • Applicants don’t need to include previous schools if they have changed secondary school (unless their current school is unable to capture the impact of the disability).
  • There is a more comprehensive teachers manual.

To get precise and exact information and explanation of the changes you can download or read a document called ‘Important Changes to DARE 2017 by clicking HERE

Further reading
The DARE Handbook 2017

The DARE Information leaflet 2017

The HEAR information Leaflet 2017

The HEAR Handbook 2017


HEAR And DARE Schemes – What are they? How can they help? (Pt 1)

Having a disability can have a negative impact on your school work, reducing your chances of getting into university. Students coming from a background where nobody in their family ever went to university, or where there is no wage coming into the house are less likely to go to university.

So what can be done about it? Over 2 blog posts, we look at the DARE and HEAR schemes to see what they have to offer and how they might support students with disabilities or that come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We start with DARE.


What is DARE?
The Disability Access Route To Education (DARE) aims to help school leavers under 23yrs, who have a disability that negatively impacts on their education.

If you meet the application criteria, you might get offered a place on your preferred course with reduced points

While on a course you might receive other academic, personal or social supports to help with study in University. This is something universities offer any students with a disability.

How do I apply for DARE?
Apply to CAO by 1 Feb 2016 (Note – DARE is for CAO support, not PLC) indicating that you wish to participate in the DARE scheme

By 1st March 2016 you can disclose the particulars of your disability or learning difficulty using a Supplementary Information Form (SIF)

By 1st April 2016 download and complete Sections B and C of the SIF for your Educational Impact Statement and Evidence of Disability

How do I know if I’m eligible?
You need to be able to provide evidence of your disability
You need to be to meet the ‘Educational Impact’ criteria

What are the eligible disabilities and how do I provide evidence?
• Autistic Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
• Blind / Vision Impaired
• Deaf / Hard of Hearing
• DCD – Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia
• Mental Health Condition
• Neurological Condition (Incl. Brain Injury & Epilepsy,)
• Speech & Language Communication Disorder
• Significant Ongoing Illness
• Physical Disability
• Specific Learning Difficulty (Dyslexia & Dyscalculia)

There is different documentation needed for different disabilities. The DARE website has a complete guide to providing evidence of disability which lists different disabilities, with the type of documentation sought, and who you should be getting it from.

dare eleigibility

What does Educational Impact mean, and how do I provide evidence?
To show that a disability has negatively impacted on your education, you need to be able to say YES to TWO of the following;
1. On your Learning or Exam Results?
2. On your Attendance or regularly Disrupted your school day?
3. Has it affected your School Experience and Well-being?
4. Have you received Intervention or Supports?
5. Has it affected your homework and study Time?
6. Has it caused any other Educational Impact?
7. If you have a Specific Learning Difficulty, is it severely impacting on your literacy or numeracy skills?
If you believe there has been an impact on your education, then you will be asked to complete a form with an impact statement where you provide any information you feel is relevant.

You will also need to get your school to complete parts of the form, including details of supports that may have been in place while you were in secondary school. The form can be downloaded from the Access College website

Startup Stock Photos

Help and support is available in all Universities

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 DARE Applications. The CAO Helpdesk can help.
We in the youth information service can help with applications
And of course there are the DARE advice clinics held in various venues around the country on Saturday January 16th 2016.
The DARE 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.

DARE Application Guide

Important Changes to DARE

Guide to Providing Evidence of your Disability

Educational Impact Statement

Evidence of Disability Form

DARE application checklist