Higher Education Access Route
HEAR is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible students compete for a quota of reduced points places in the colleges that run the scheme.
School leavers resident in the Republic of Ireland and have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education and who come from socio-economic groups in Irish society that are underrepresented in third level.
An example of a reduced points offer is that the Leaving Certificate points for a particular course is 366 points. An eligible HEAR applicant could be offered a place with a lower points score, e.g. 355 points. This applicant would also, like all other applicants applying to college on the basis of their Leaving Certificate results, need to meet the minimum entry requirements and any specific programme requirements before being considered for a HEAR reduced points offer. The reduction in points for HEAR places varies every year.
The amount of points a particular course is reduced by is dependent on a number of factors, such as;
- The overall number of places on the course.
- The number of reserved HEAR places on the course.
- The number of HEAR eligible applicants competing for these reserved places.
- Dublin City University
- Dublin Institute of Technology
- NUI Galway
- Marino Institute of Education
- Maynooth University
- Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
- National College of Ireland
- Pontifical University, Maynooth
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
- St. Angela’s College, Sligo
- Trinity College Dublin
- University College Dublin
- University College Cork
- University of Limerick
This means students can apply through HEAR for the quota of places in any of these colleges.
Each of the colleges set aside a quota of places for HEAR students each year. In 2014, 3,424 students accepted places in the participating colleges through HEAR. For further information on the number of places available in particular institutions or courses, please contact the access office in the college of your choice.
Indicator 1 – Low Income
Is the household income below the HEAR Income threshold in 2015?
Indicator 2 – Medical Card
Is the applicant or his/her mother/father/guardian in receipt of a medical card (in date on 31st December 2016)?
Indicator 3 – Social Welfare
Is the applicant’s mother/father/guardian in receipt of a means-tested social welfare payment (for a minimum of 26 weeks in the relevant year)2015?
Indicator 4 – Socio-Economic Grouping (based on occupation and employment status)
Is the applicant a member of a group underrepresented in higher education?
Indicator 5 – DEIS School
Did the applicant attend a school part of the Department of Education & Science “DEIS” scheme (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) for the duration of their second level education?
Indicator 6 – Geographical Area
Does the applicant live in an area of concentrated disadvantage?
The combinations for eligibility are:
Examples of the documentation required are:
- P21(s) or Self-Assessment Letter – Chapter 4 for 2015
- Department of Social Protection form or statement for 2015
Further information on the type of supporting documents required is available on page 23 (the Supporting Document Section) of the HEAR Application Guide.
All supporting documents must be returned to the CAO no later than 1 April 2017. Late documentation will not be accepted.
Applicants will receive a supporting document checklist at the bottom of the application form. The supporting document checklist will list what documents they need to submit to the CAO to complete their HEAR application. The checklist is based on the answers given in Section 7 of the online HEAR application form.
In section 7, select the parent/guardian who contributes to your family’s income and answer Yes or No as appropriate for that parent under Type of Income. (Eg Employee, paid employment, social welfare)
- Answer yes to Section 4: Children in the Care of the State / TUSLA. You do not need to complete Sections 5, 6 or 7
- Supply a letter from TUSLA on TUSLA headed paper detailing the date you were taken into care. Submit this letter to the CAO by 17:15 on 1 April 2017.
- apply to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February 2017 and indicate that you wish to apply to the HEAR scheme by 17:15 on 1 March 2017
- supply your correct 2016 CAO number
The outcome of your 2016 HEAR application was communicated to you in writing in June 2016. If you applied to CAO in 2016 and you were deemed eligible for HEAR in 2016, then your HEAR eligibility can be carried forward to your application for entry in 2017. You must enter your correct 2016 CAO application number in the box provided. You are required to complete ALL relevant sections of the 2017 HEAR application form, however you DO NOT need to supply supporting documentation as part of your application. Applicants can contact the CAO helpdesk if they require information about their 2016 HEAR eligibility. In the event of being offered and accepting a HEAR place in 2017, you will be required to provide the original documentation, copies of which accompanied your 2016 HEAR application.
Please contact a staff member in one of the participating colleges who will be able to advise you, based on your family’s individual circumstances, what you need to provide.
Alternatively, If your parent/ guardian is a client of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) a statement of financial affairs from MABS, detailing your family financial situation, will be acceptable as evidence of income.