Financial help with going to school
Different schemes can help with the costs of going to school. Most of the schemes are for students who are dependent on a social welfare payment. There is also a scheme for second-level students who are disadvantaged by living a long way from school. The details of the various schemes are set out below.
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance helps meet the costs of uniforms and footwear for students going to school. To be eligible for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, the parent or guardian must be getting certain social welfare benefits or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education and total household income must be below a certain amount.
Funding under the Free Education Scheme is available to State primary and post-primary schools to help with the cost of school books. Funding comes from the Department of Education and Skills and the scheme is administered in each school by the school principal.
The scheme is mainly aimed at pupils from low-income families and families experiencing financial hardship. It can be used to set up a book rental scheme within the school or help individual students buy books. The Department of Education prefers schools to use it to set up book rental schemes as this helps more students from low income families. The Department has issued schools with Guidelines for Developing Textbook Rental Schemes in Schools.
You can find out more about the scheme in the Department's publication A Guide for Parents: Text Book Rental Scheme in Schools.
Information about the operation of the scheme in your child's school is available from the school principal. To apply for assistance you must contact the principal of your child's school. The principal has total discretion in deciding which students are most in need.
Exemption from examination fees
Students whose parent or guardian holds a current medical card do not have to pay the examination fees for Junior or Leaving Certificate. In this case, details of the medical card are put on the fee payment form and the parent then sends the form back to the school. If you are exempt from fees because your parents hold a medical card you are still liable for late fees if you apply after the deadline. More detailed information is available on Leaving Certificate examination fees and Junior Certificate examination fees.
Remote Areas Boarding Grant
Under the Remote Area Grant scheme funding is available to support pupils who live far from a school providing suitable free second-level education. To qualify for a boarding grant the pupil must live at least 4.8 km from a second-level school and more than 3.2 km from a pick-up point on a transport service to such a school. The pupil must be unable to obtain a place in a suitable second-level school within 25 km of their home and must be attending a second-level school providing free second-level education for day pupils. Pupils living on offshore islands which do not have a school providing suitable free second-level education may also qualify for assistance under the scheme. Read more about the Remote Areas Boarding Grant.
Special needs and physical disability
Assistive technology grant scheme for primary schools provides grant-aid to schools to help them purchase specialist equipment. More detailed information is available on Assistive technology grant for students with disabilities. Organisations and, in some cases, parents or guardians can access additional grants for special education including home tuition, Irish sign language, typing scheme and part-time teaching hours are available. More detailed information is available from the Department of Education and Skills.
Where to apply