Third-level education and COVID-19


All schools and colleges closed on 12 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Government Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (pdf) includes the phased opening of schools and colleges in the new academic year 2020-2021.

Third-level institutions have moved to learning online. You can check your college’s arrangements during COVID-19.

Exams during the COVID-19 emergency

On 8 April 2020, the Department of Education and Skills announced that further and higher education institutions including Education and Training Boards (ETBs) will not hold written, oral or practical assessments in examination centres during the public health emergency.

If you are not able to participate in alternative assessment arrangements, you will not be penalised. You will have an opportunity to complete your studies at a later point in time.

The assessment procedures will take account of broadband access, technical issues, support arrangements for students with disabilities, mental health issues, students who are vulnerable, students who have contracted COVID-19 or are caring for others, students overseas and student who are working.

Higher education institutions will consider how their assessments methods meet the requirements of professional and accrediting bodies and external examiners.

Your university or college should write to you about your exam arrangements. Guidance on alternative assessment arrangements by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the Irish Universities Association was issued to all higher and further education bodies

If you have lost your job

If you have lost your job, or been laid off because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

If you applied for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and your employer has re-employed you under the new COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, you must close your claim for Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. You can close your claim using

Read more about your employment rights during COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are renting

Emergency measures were announced on 19 March 2020 to protect tenants impacted by COVID-19 public health emergency.

These measures are:

  • A moratorium on notices to leave rental accommodation and a moratorium on rent increases for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • An increase in the notice period for tenancies of less than six months from 28 to 90 days

You are expected to pay rent during the emergency period. Any rent arrears built up will be payable, but landlords have been asked to show understanding and reach local arrangements in these circumstances.

If you have problems paying your rent during the emergency period, you should engage as soon as possible with your landlord.

If you are in rent difficulties you can contact the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and the national housing charity, Threshold, which operates the national Tenancy Protection Service.

Student grant

Students will continue to receive their maintenance grants as normal for academic year 2019-2020. The duration or value of your maintenance grant will not change.

From 23 April 2020, you can apply online for a student grant for the 2020-2021 academic year.

You can read more about qualifying for a student grant.

For more information, you can also read frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and student grant funding.

You can also contact Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) on 0761 08 7874 and email SUSI at

Student supports

This can be a stressful time. You can stay in touch with information and frequently asked questions on your college’s website.

You should continue to contact your relevant university support office for disability, counselling, financial aid and academic supports. The Union of Students of Ireland offers tips on how to mind your mental health.

The National College of Ireland (NCI) student counselling and wellness Service continues to offer telephone counselling to NCI students during the emergency.

You can find more information on how to deal with exam stress during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

International students studying in Ireland

If you are an international student studying in Ireland, your student visa will be renewed automatically, if it is due to expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020.

If you were working and have lost your job because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This will not affect your immigration renewal. You can find more information about permissions, work and unemployment during COVID-19.

The Irish Council for International Students has a resource for international students who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You should also check your college’s arrangements and advice for international students.

The HSE provides information on COVID-19 in different languages.

Further information

The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read about the public health measures for Ireland.

You can get detailed information on Ireland's response to COVID-19 and the latest updates on

You can also get information from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Page edited: 5 May 2020