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 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.


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.