Breaking the Mould

The Breaking the Mould Access Programme is designed for students who have the academic ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education but who are under-represented at third level due to a variety of social and economic reasons, including long-term unemployment, low family income or little or no tradition of progression to higher education.

The opportunity to participate in the Breaking the Mould Access Programme is available to students aged 22 and under, attending a post primary school or educational centre within the BMW region, which encompasses counties  Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.

Breaking the Mould

Breaking the Mould will offer eligible students a place in their chosen course if they achieve:

a) minimum entry requirements for that course (eg. mathematics requirement or two honours for a Level 8 programme) and

b) within 10% of the points required for that course.

A bursary will also be offered to eligible students to assist them with the costs associated with making the transition to third level studies. A free Summer School transition programme will be provided immediately prior to registration for participating students to ensure that they benefit fully from higher education. One to one mentoring will also be provided to participating students during their first year.

Who is Eligible to Apply for Breaking the Mould ?

To be eligible for Breaking the Mould, applicants must be:

  • An EU citizen by birth or naturalisation
  • A non EU citizen with permission to remain in Ireland with a letter from the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform, stating this
  • Resident in Ireland or another EU country for three of the last five years
  • Aged 22 years or under on 1st January  of the calendar year of application
  • A first time CAO applicant who is a :

a) First time Leaving Certificate student or

b) FETAC Level 5 student who has previously undertaken the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme or

c) Current FETAC Level 5 student who has never completed the Leaving Certificate.

  • Family income must be dependent on social welfare or on a low income. In cases of addiction, long term illness of a parent or sibling or any other circumstance within the family which reduces the income available or which discourages a student from progressing to third level studies must be confirmed by letter.  This must contain details validating the circumstances of the student and should be written by one of the following persons who must not be a relative: member of clergy, medical professional, practising lawyer, notary public / commissioner for oaths, peace commissioner, a member of the Garda Suíochána or school principal.  Currently, the income ceiling for eligible applicants is a family income of €30,500 for the previous year.


Application for all first year places on courses at Institute of Technology, Sligo is made to the Central Applications Office (CAO), Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway, tel: +353(0) 91 509800,

  • A separate Breaking the Mould Application Form must be completed and returned directly to Institute of Technology, Sligo by 5:00pm, Wednesday 1st March 2017.
  •  Applicants must submit financial documentation in support of their application by 5:00pm, Friday 31st March 2017.
  • A Referee Report must be completed by the school and returned by 5:00pm,  Friday 21st April 2017.
  • IT Sligo is not part of the HEAR programme.
  • Applicants are also asked on the application form to commit to a one week Summer School Transition Programme.

To download an application pack please click on the following:

Step 1: breaking-the-mould-brochure-2017

Step 2: breaking-the-mould-application-form-

Step 3: breaking-the-mould-reference-report-

Entry Requirements

Minimum academic requirements for each course as outlined in the Institute’s prospectus are required byBreaking the Mould applicants. For example, eligible Breaking the Mould applicants must achieve two honours in their Leaving Certificate for entry into a Level 8 programme.


All offers of first year places at Institute of Technology, Sligo are made through the CAO based on the student’s CAO list of course preferences. At the same time that Round One offers are being made through the CAO, the Access Office in Institute of Technology, Sligo will communicate directly with the applicant to let him/her know if an offer of a Breaking the Mould place will be made.  The one week Summer School Transition Programme is expected to commence the beginning of September.

Financial Information

The free tuition fees scheme of the Department of Education entitles EU students and some non EU citizens to free tuition on all full-time undergraduate programmes at Institute of Technology, Sligo. Breaking the Moulddoes not cover tuition fees and applicants must satisfy the Access Office at Institute of Technology, Sligo that they are eligible for free fees.

Breaking the Mould Access students are normally eligible for a Higher Education Grant. Information is available from and  Applications for third level grants can be made online

A registration fee set by the Minister for Education and Skills is payable annually. For 2016/17 academic year, this fee was €3,000. If deemed eligible for a maintenance grant, the registration fee will also be paid by SUSI.

Final Word

Finally, we would like to offer a word of encouragement to prospective Breaking the Mould applicants as you learn about our Institute and programmes of study. May you find satisfaction in your chosen programme of studies whether in IT Sligo or elsewhere, and may we wish you every success in the future.

For Further Information contact:

Linda McGloin, Breaking the Mould Coordinator

P: +353 (0) 71 9137355


2016/17 Prospectus