Education Assistance

Back to Education Allowance (BTEA)

If you are unemployed, getting a One-Parent Family Payment or have a disability, you may attend a second-or third-level education course and get the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). The weekly Allowance is paid at a standard rate and is not means-tested. However, the increase you get for a qualified adult may be means-tested if your spouse/partner has earnings.
In addition to your weekly BTEA payment, you will also get an annual Cost of Education Allowance of €500, which is paid at the start of each academic year.

To qualify for the BTEA…

  • To qualify for the Back to Education Allowance, you must be at least 21 years of age (24 years of age for a third-level postgraduate course).
  • If you wish to attend a second level course you must be getting one of the social welfare payments listed below for at least 3 months (78 days of unemployment*) immediately before you start the course.
  • If you wish to attend a third level course you must be getting one of the social welfare payments listed below for 9 months (234 days of unemployment*) immediately before you start the course.

*If you are getting a jobseeker’s payment, each day you are unemployed, except Sunday, is counted as a day of unemployment.

Download your form here: Back to Education Allowance Form

Higher Education Grants

You can apply for the Higher Education Grants Scheme if you are a student undertaking an approved full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 years in duration or a full-time postgraduate course. You must meet a number of criteria to qualify for the grant including  a means test. Details of the Higher Education Grants Scheme are available on the website of the Department of Education and Skills.

The scheme applies to you if you:

  • Are starting an approved course for the first time in the academic year in question
  • Are a mature student, who in the academic year in question is either entering in order to complete an approved course at undergraduate level for the first time or re-entering in order to pursue or complete an approved course at postgraduate level for the first time or already hold a postgraduate qualification and are re-entering to progress to a further postgraduate course which represents progression. (In order to be considered a mature student, you need to be at least 23 years of age on January 1 of the year you enter your chosen course.)
  • Have attended but not successfully completed an approved course and are returning following a break of at least 5 years in order to pursue an approved course at the same level in the academic year in question. In this instance, you will be considered a Second Chance Student
  • To be eligible for a grant under this scheme, you must also fulfil the conditions as to residence, age, academic attainments, means and nationality.

As announced in Budget 2010, you will not be eligible for the grant if you are starting a new course in 2010/11 and getting Back to Education Allowance. However, you should still submit a grant application form to be assessed for exemption from the Student Services Charge and any applicable fees.

For more information go to: http://www.studentfinance.ie/

Explanatory Guide: Guidance notes for the Student Grant Application Form

Joe O'Reilly; Joe OReilly TD representing Cavan; Bailieborough, Cootehill, Virginia, Shercock, Kingscourt 2010. | An ExSite website