Access Office

At ATU, we believe in equality of access and participation for all students. We provide a range of supports and services for students applying to ATU and attending full-time and part-time courses within the University.

Here you’ll find information on support for students whose personal or socio-economic circumstances mean they need extra support to enter and/or attend college.

Supports Available

HEAR Scheme at ATU Sligo

IT Sligo is part of the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR).  This is a college and university scheme that offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR has been set up by a number of colleges and universities, as evidence shows that socio-economic disadvantage can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college. HEAR applicants must meet a range of financial, social and cultural indicators to be considered for a reduced points place and extra college support.

HEAR is for school leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2018 who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. Mature and FET (Further Education and Training) students have their own admissions routes and should contact college admissions offices for more information. Applications to HEAR can only be made online through the CAO.  For further information on this scheme check out the following website

Reduced Points

If you apply to HEAR and meet the application criteria (that is, are deemed eligible for HEAR) you may be offered a place even if you do not have enough Leaving Certificate points for your preferred course. Each participating college and university has a reserved number of places to offer eligible HEAR applicants at lower or reduced Leaving Certificate points.

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. 356 points. This applicant would also, like all other applicants applying to college, 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 can vary every year.

College Supports

If you get a place through HEAR, you will receive a variety of academic, personal and social supports while at college.

  • Apply online to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February.
  • No later than 17:15 on 1st March, you must indicate in your CAO application that you wish to apply for the HEAR scheme and you must fully and correctly complete all elements the HEAR form (the HEAR form is a part of your CAO application).
  • Submit relevant evidence in support of your application to arrive at CAO no later than 17:15 on 1 April.

HEAR applications can only be made online at

More information on HEAR is available from your school Guidance Counsellor or NCI’s Student Support Office. Information can also be found on:

Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund is intended to support students whose participation in higher education would otherwise be at risk as a direct result of financial difficulties. You can read more about it on our page

1916 Bursary Fund

The purpose of the 1916 Bursary is to encourage participation and success by students who are most socio-economically disadvantaged and who are from groups most under-represented in higher education. To be considered for a bursary, applicants must meet College Entry, Financial and Target Group eligibility criteria. Each college has a limited number of bursaries; they will be awarded to the eligible applicants that present the greatest need. 

Applications for the 1916 Bursary Fund are now open,

What is the value of a 1916 Bursary?There are three different types of bursaries – Tier 1, 2 and 3.Tier 1: €5,000 per year for the normal duration of an undergraduate programme – or up to a maximum of six years for a part-time programme.Tier 2: €2,000 per year for the normal duration of an undergraduate programme – or up to a maximum of six years for a part-time programme.Tier 3: Awardees will receive a once-off bursary of €1,500 for the 2023/24 academic year only.

Application pack 

-1916 Bursary Fund Application Guide 2023/24

-1916 Bursary Fund FAQs 2023/24 can be accessed through FAQ’s – The 1916 Bursary

Applications are now closed. 

Sanctuary Scholarship

ATU Sanctuary scholarships are now open for applications 2024/25. The closing date is 21 June 2024. 
More details and application form can be found here.
Scholarships will be open to those in the International Protection System, living in Ireland (except at deportation stage) who are ineligible for state supports.
To be eligible for consideration for a Sanctuary Scholarship:
You must be in the International Protection System, living in Ireland (except at deportation stage)
  • ANDHold an unconditional offer of a place on an undergraduate programme in ATUAND
  • Be an entrant progressing to higher education in Ireland for the first timeAND
  • Not be eligible for other state supports for higher education.

Education and Training Bursary Scheme for Care Experienced Young People 2023-2024

Bursary Scheme

Tusla and DCEDIY have secured Dormant Accounts funding to provide a Bursary Scheme to young adults who have had a care experience of at least 6 months and are aged 18 or over. The funding is intended to support and assist them to achieve their full potential in education or training.

Applications are now being received and the scheme will be open up the 31 of August 2023.  

Mature Students

A mature applicant is someone who is aged 23 or older on January 1st of the calendar year of application to third level education. Mature applicants, must apply to the Central Application Office (CAO), Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway on or before 1st February.

Application forms can be obtained from the CAO or online at

Applicants are subsequently interviewed by ATU Sligo in April.

The CAO also accepts ‘late applications’ before a May 1st closing date. A second round of interviews takes place in late summer in ATU Sligo and late applicants are called for interview only if places remain unfilled on their chosen course.

Students from Traveller and Roma Communities

Atlantic Technological University (ATU) recognises the rights and ambitions of students from Traveller and Roma communities. It is committed to the provision of equal educational opportunities and access to university education for students from these communities.

ATU supports students from these communities in enjoying a positive and welcoming academic, social and personal experience in higher education, actively engaging and participating in all aspects of campus life.

As part of its commitment to the Traveller and Roma communities, ATU provides a range of services to those involved in supporting students from these communities into higher education and to ATU students from the Traveller and Roma communities.

Education Providers

ATU works closely with education providers in the region to support students from Traveller and Roma communities in realising their educational ambitions and aspirations, including participation in higher education.

It offers a number of services to schools and centres involved in the provision of educational programmes to members of the Traveller and Roma communities, including:

  • School/Centre visits
  • Information at Open Days
  • Campus visits and taster sessions
  • Summer camps
  • Contribution to Transition Programmes (primary to post-primary, post-primary to university)

Traveller Project Groups

A partnership approach between ATU and Traveller Project Groups in the West-North West region provides pathways into higher education for groups and individuals from the Traveller and Roma communities. This includes:

  • Campus visits
  • Taster sessions, both on-campus and outreached
  • Information and support applying to accredited programmes
  • Academic, personal and financial information and supports before and during programmes
  • Delivery of customised programmes (accredited and unaccredited), both on-campus and outreached
  • Non-academic supports and servicess


Students from Traveller and Roma communities have access to a number of supports which aim to foster a positive and welcoming academic, social and personal experience for students from these communities in higher education. Supports encourage active engagement and participation in all aspects of campus life and include:

  • Information sessions on completing CAO and other applications
  • Information sessions on completing SUSI grants and scholarship applications
  • Student Assistance fund (covers travel, childcare and other expenses)
  • Laptop Loan Scheme
  • One-to-one support throughout studies including learning support, maths support, academic writing, career services and personal support.


Please get in touch if you wish to find out more about ATU and what it has to offer current or prospective students from the Traveller and Roma Communities.

Contact Details

Sinéad Campbell
Traveller Education Officer | Oifigeach Oideachais Taistealaithe


Uversity Mature student scholarship now open for 2023-24 applications

Uversity is a Registered Charity that grants Higher Education Scholarships to Adult Learners seeking to unlock their potential and realise their academic, personal and professional ambitions. 

Uversity’s Scholarships help to alleviate the financial barriers that may be preventing older students aged 23 and over, from earning a Bachelor’s Degree for the first time. 

Covid-19 Laptop scheme

This scheme is being provided to support disadvantaged students in higher education institutions in accessing ICT devices. Full-time and part-time students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) are eligible to apply under this scheme. The Grant covers both incoming first year students and returning students.  International, non-EU fee-paying students would not be considered eligible for support under this scheme.

To be eligible for this scheme:  Students must be in receipt of a SUSI grant or a means-tested Social welfare payment.  Priority will be given to students of target groups identified under the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher education 2015-2021

  • Students disadvantaged by socio-economic barriers
  • First-time mature students
  • Students with disabilities
  • Part-time/flexible learning students
  • Students who hold further education qualifications
  • Students who are members of the Traveller and Roma communities
  • Students who are lone parents
  • Students who are members of ethnic minorities

To apply, email for an application form    – please post in to Access Office or drop envelop at college reception.              

Closing date: We have a limited number of laptops available, we will assess all eligible applications until all laptops have been allocated. 

NOTE:  If you are not eligible to apply to this scheme, the Student Assistance Fund will be opening the beginning of semester one and all students will be emailed a link to apply.

A lecturer working on her laptop

Contact us

HEAR, Student Assistance Fund

Lesley Walsh

Assistant Access Officer

Tel: +353 (0) 71 9155381

Laptop lending scheme

Conor Cooney

Clerical Officer

Tel: +353 (0)71 930 5619

Mature Students, 1916 Bursary, Sanctuary Scholarships

Linda Mc Gloin

Access Officer

Tel: +353 (071) 9305417

The 1916 Bursary is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) and aims to encourage participation and success by students who are most socio-economically disadvantaged and from groups most under-represented in higher education.

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