Access Office

If you have specific learning needs or any circumstances which need individual consideration, the Access Office at ATU Sligo is here to help. 

All applicants for first year full-time courses at ATU Sligo must first apply through the CAO in the usual manner.  See for further details on how to do this.

Applicants in the following categories may enter their chosen course without reaching the required Leaving Certificate points:

  • DARE/ HEAR Eligible Applicants
  • Mature Applicants
Third Level Access is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020



Supports Available

The Disability Support Service  acts as an advocate on behalf of the students with a disability, students with Autism or (ASD)  or special need in ATU Sligo. 

By registering with the Disability Support Service, supports can be requested and developed in relation to academic and physical requirements within the college on the student’s behalf.  

An application can be made to the Higher Education Authority for funding to facilitate the student in his / her studies, purchase and loan equipment intended to assist the student during his / her studies at ATU Sligo. 

As it will take some time to develop some of the supports required by any student, students are urged to make contact with the Disability Support Service as soon as is possible following return to study at ATU Sligo.

Three IT students talking and working on their laptops

Specific procedures are in place to support students with disabilities or special needs to perform on an equal basis as their class peers.  The Policy Guidelines and Procedures for the Granting of Reasonable Accommodations in Examinations to Students with Disabilities can be accessed here.

In order to provide accurate supports and accommodations, the Disability Support Service requires medical documentation from the appropriate medical professional. The Guide to Providing evidence of your disability for support can be accessed here.

The provision of supports to students with disabilities at ATU Sligo is separate from special consideration for entry provided through DARE, all students with disabilities should contact the Disability Support Service as early as possible to develop their individual support plan regardless of how they entered ATU Sligo.

Learning Support Service

At ATU Sligo, the Learning Support Tutor provides learning support to students who have dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties.

Students who have been diagnosed as having dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties should contact the Learning Support Tutor early in the academic year to develop their Individual Support Plan.

In order to provide accurate supports and accommodations, the Learning Support Service requires medical documentation from the appropriate medical professional. Refer to the Guide to Providing evidence of your disability for support.

Dyslexia screening can also be arranged in the college for students who suspect they may have dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties.

Supports provided by the Learning Support Tutor include:

  • Dyslexia Screening
  • Study Skills Information
  • Use of Assistive Technology Suite
  • Assistive Technology
  • Reasonable Accommodation at Examinations
  • Applications to the Department of Education and Skills to the Fund for Students with Disabilities on behalf of students with up to date psychological assessments
  • Liaising with relevant staff to ensure students achieve their full potential at ATU Sligo.
  • One to one or group support

The Learning Support Tutor is located in the main building, first floor, third door, opposite Yeat’s Library.

DARE at ATU Sligo

All courses will accept qualified DARE applicants, the courses that applicants are likely to study will reflect that popularity of courses in general.

All DARE applicants will have to meet minimum academic entry requirements in addition to DARE eligibility.  For Higher Certificate (Level 6) courses the minimum points required for entry through DARE will be 120 points.  For Ordinary Degree (Level 7) courses, the minimum points required for entry through DARE will be 150 points. For Honours Degree (Level 8) courses, the minimum points required for entry through DARE will be 200. Some courses also carry mathematics, health or fitness to study requirements which will also have to be met.

DARE entry is for leaving certificate applicants only, however ATU Sligo will be operating a supplementary entry route for FETAC applicants who meet the DARE eligibility criteria.  These will be given bonus points for entry, these places will be in addition to the DARE places available in the first year at ATU Sligo.

Applicants applying for FETAC courses must email or to have bonus points applied for entry.

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:

The Assistive Technology Suite

The Assistive Technology Suite offers students with disabilities a quiet room to study where they have access to printers and PCs with specific software. It is located on the first floor in the Student Support Services Centre.

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.

Find out more here.

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

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.

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. 

Contact us

HEAR, Student Assistance Fund

Lesley Walsh

Assistant Access Officer

Tel: +353 (0) 71 9155381

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)

 Andrea Rynn & Fiona Fox

Learning Support Tutors

Tel: +353 (0)71 9305400

Mature Students, 1916 Bursary, Sanctuary Scholarships

Linda Mc Gloin

Access Officer

Tel: +353 (071) 9305417

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