Higher Education & Mature Students

Returning to education as a mature student is becoming increasingly popular. A Mature student is a candidate who is 23 years of age on the 1st January of the year of entry (or re-entry) to an approved course in a recognised Higher Education Institute (HEI).

Most of the HEI's require you to apply via the CAO (Central Applications Office www.cao.ie) though some colleges require you to apply directly, and still others require you to do both. Some colleges may also require you to do an interview.

Each College has an Admissions Office and staff are always happy to answer queries. In addition, most colleges have a dedicated Mature Students Officer.

The Mature Student Officer may also have information on access and foundation courses.

Once a mature student enters college the Mature Students Officer is normally the main point of contact and can offer assistance in any area that a student may be experiencing difficulty in. There are also a number of supports available to mature students when they enter college. The Mature Students Officer will be able to tell you about these supports. These can include academic supports, counselling, careers advice, health services, accommodation, crèche facilities, disability services, and chaplaincy.

Normally you must hold an EU birth certificate or passport (or have official refugee status) and be resident in an EU member state for three of the five years prior to entry on an undergraduate course.

Non EU applicants are welcome but will be subject to fees. In addition, if English is not your first language you may be required to provide evidence of proficiency in the language. It is important to check with each college for their admission requirements.

Some QQI courses are recognised as entry routes for third level studies.

You should check with the individual college for further information.

Most mature students qualify for the Free Fee Initiative and also for the Local Authority Grant. Please also contact your local Partnership office for information on local grants.

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