Higher Education And Disability Access

Many third level colleges operate a Supplementary Admissions Route that recognises that people with disabilities may have an education disadvantage. Applying to college through this route may allow a student to enter the course below the points required - but it is worth remembering that the entry criteria varies from one college to another, for example in some colleges it is within 15% below the mandatory points; while some operate quota systems, in others it is decided on an individual basis.

How does a student apply to be considered for the supplementary admissions route?

The student can do this by simply ticking the box on the first page of on the CAO form which asks if a person has a disability. You will then be sent a Supplementary Information form to complete and send back to the CAO by March. The CAO will then forward this information to the colleges you have indicated a preference for and who participate in this scheme. Many students are anxious about disclosing their disability fearing that it will go against them but this is simply not the case.

AHEAD recommends that all students with disabilities disclose their disability in advance as this helps third level colleges to plan ahead for the support needs of their students with disabilities.

What funding and supports are available for students with disabilities?

Upon registration, students with disabilities are advised to register with the Disability Support Service or Access Officer in their college. The disability or access officer will carry out a needs assessment and then submit an application to the ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities on the student's behalf, which is used to pay for equipment and or supports that have been identified as necessary.

The types of supports available include sign language interpreters, personal assistants, assistive technology, alternative examination arrangements and learning support.

For further information please contact:

AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disability)

AHEAD is an independent voluntary organisation working to promote access for persons with disabilities to Third Level Education in Ireland.

East Hall
Carysfort Avenue
Co Dublin
Tel: 01 7164396
Email: ahead@ahead.ie
Website: www.ahead.ie
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