Access Office

The role of the Access Office is to encourage and support categories of students who traditionally have not been represented in higher education.  Access support is generally understood to refer to the facilitation of access and progression through higher education for certain groups in society, to successfully complete a higher level qualification, who otherwise might not be capable of achieving this. Typically, these groups include persons with disabilities, mature (i.e. 23 years of age or over at entry to Higher Education), and those members of society who are identified to be socio-economically disadvantaged. Student within these categories will receive support at pre-entry, upon entry as well as during their course of study.

  • HEAR, Student Assistance & Childcare Funds, Mature Students
  • Linda McGloin, Acting Access Officer
  • Tel: +353 (0) 71 917355
  • DARE, Disability Support or Autism Supports
  • Maureen Haran, Acting Asst. Access Officer
  • Tel: +353 (0)71 9155381

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) 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 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 in the year of application to college who are resident in the Republic of Ireland.

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who, as a result of having a disability, have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.

DARE is for school leavers with a disability under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2018, who have been educationally impacted as a result of that disability. Applicants to DARE can present with an Irish Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and other EU qualifications.
Mature students and students applying on the basis of Further Education and Training (FET) results have different admission routes. You can get further information on these routes from college and university websites.”

Prospective Students

All applicants for first year full-time courses at IT 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


Students with a Disability or Medical Condition

The Access Office at Institute of Technology, Sligo is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities can successfully pursue and achieve their educational ambitions. The Access Office offers a range of diverse services to students studying at IT Sligo.

For students with disabilities these include:

  • Learning support for students with dyslexia
  • General support and assistive technology for students with disabilities or ongoing illnesses
  • Assistive Technology Room
  • Applications to the Fund for Students with Disabilities
  • Screening for students who suspect that they may have dyslexia or specific learning difficulties.

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 IT 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 IT Sligo and late applicants are called for interview only if places remain unfilled on their chosen course.

 Student Assistance and Childcare Fund

 The Student Assistance Fund aims to ensure that disadvantaged students receive financial supports to enable them to fully benefit from their studies and in particular to assist them in overcoming financial obstacles which may otherwise cause them to abandon their studies. All students attending a full-time undergraduate course of not less than one year’s duration are eligible to apply for assistance to overcome acute or unexpected hardship. Any tuition or registration fees must be paid in full before students can receive funding from the Student Assistance Fund.

The Childcare Fund is a limited fund, available to help full-time students who have childcare responsibilities. In order to be eligible to apply for funding from the Childcare fund, applicants must qualify for free or the EU rate of fees and meet the eligibility criteria for application for a maintenance grant from SUSI, their local authority or VEC.  Applicants must also have paid any outstanding tuition or registration fees before becoming eligible for support from the Childcare Fund.

Useful Websites

2017/18 Prospectus