Rough Guide to the Student Grant 2017

There’s a lot to think about when going to college. Financial support is one of the big ones. Each year Crosscare Youth Information service produces a ‘Rough Guide to the Student Grant’. Below is the 2017 version, available for you to download and share freely.

 

You can download the ‘Rough Guide to Student Grant 2017’ here

There have been a few small changes to the grant for 2017, but for most people the criteria and figures will stay the same.  If you are eligible for the ‘Special top-up rate’ the threshold has risen to €23,000. The grant for some Post Graduate students has been reintroduced. Mature students that had previously dropped out of college can now apply for a grant for a plc course and there are changes around counting bursaries and for children of naturalized citizens. More detail about this can be found from the Dept of Education or you can click on this link to view their recent announcement of the scheme.
Our guide will give you a basic introduction to the grant, mainly around the types of questions we get mostly get asked about, including the thresholds, figures and eligibility criteria.
Some of the other costs of going to college:

  • PLC Programme Participant Contribution of €200 per year for Level 5/6 (Colleges for Further Ed).  You are exempt from this if you qualify for The Student Grant.
  • Student Contribution of up to €3,000 per year for Level 7/8 (ITs/ Universities). You are exempt from this if you are eligible for The Student Grant.
  • Fee for student facilities e.g. internet, services
  • Exam fees
  • Costs for specific courses e.g. Art material for design courses, – some course material can cost over €2,000
  • Travel Costs

 

If you are having any difficulty with any of the student grant process, whether that s uncertainty about one part of the application, or you would like us to sit with you and help complete the full  application form, then we are happy to help with that difficulty.

You can give us a call, contact us via social media or email. We also have offices in Bray and Arklow where you can meet an information worker, but we can also make arrangements to visit other parts of the county to meet with groups or individuals.

A PDF version of the Rough Guide can be downloaded here below

Student Grant Rough Guide2017

 

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HEAR & DARE schemes 2017

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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-2017

DARE

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-info-2017

HEAR

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

Leaving Cert Results – What Next?

Ok, so you’ve got  your results, and the initial shock, happiness, despair or whole range of emotions have settled. What happens next? What are your options? Our free resource is available for you to download and share outlining important dates and some of your options for your next steps.

Download our Leaving Cert Results – Whats Next? publication

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If you haven’t already applied for a student grant, it’s not too late. The deadline for priority applications was in July, but applications can still be accepted, although they will not be processed until those received in July are sorted.

You can apply through SUSI, and you can get more information through our publication, The Rough Guide to Student Grant 2016.

 

HEAR And DARE Schemes – What are they? How can they help? (Pt 2)

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.

HEARDARE

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:

  1. Income: Your family income is on or below the HEAR Income Limit
  2. Medical/GP Visit Card: Your family has a Medical or GP Visit Card that is in date on 31 December 2015
  3. Means Tested Social Welfare: Your family got a means tested social welfare payment for at least 26 weeks during 2014
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Hear indicator

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.

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.

HEARDARE

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)
• ADD / ADHD
• 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

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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.

Downloads
DARE Application Guide

Important Changes to DARE

Guide to Providing Evidence of your Disability

Educational Impact Statement

Evidence of Disability Form

DARE application checklist

Leaving Cert results are coming out. Don’t Panic!

Crosscare Youth Information Service has published its annual guide to ‘what’s next’ after the leaving Cert Results, and its available to download and share.

What Next 2015

The 2015 leaving cert results will be released into the in a couple of days – and for many people the next steps are clear. They’ll move on to their chosen further or higher level course, or they are done with education for now and are entering the workplace. For them world will continue to spin on its axis and all is as well as can be expected.

For others however, this is a traumatic time, when the number of points achieved is the all-consuming thought process. Those that haven’t achieved the number of points for their chosen points, or have (in their minds) crashed and burned, turn their thoughts to options – can I re-sit, should I appeal, is there a PLC course that will get me to where I want to be?

Our guide outlines issues like how to read your results, the CAO process, getting papers re-checked,  how to accept an offer,deferring your place, options for repeating, and much more.  Click here to download our ‘What’s Next 2015’ guide
In addition our offices are open for students who want to discuss, their options, and we have a telephone service on 01 2844085

Our friends at Spunout have lots of different articles, including one on dealing with exam result stress.

The Irish independent have a helpline staffed by experienced Guidance Counselors. The number to call is 1800 265 165

What Next 2015