Postgraduate student grants
If you are enrolling in a postgraduate course, you may get financial support under the Student Grant Scheme.
You apply online for a student grant - see 'How to appy' below.
Postgraduate student grant
You may get financial assistance under the Student Grant Scheme with the cost of tuition fees for approved postgraduate courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. There is no support under the Scheme for courses elsewhere in the EU.
You can qualify for assistance under the Student Grant Scheme in 2 ways. You may either:
1.Get a new flat rate fee contribution of €3,500 (2021-2022 academic year), if you pass the fee contribution means test – see below
2.Get all your tuition fees paid and essential field trips (up to €6,270), if you meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students – see below
You must qualify for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students to get a postgraduate maintenance grant – see below. No maintenance grant is paid to other postgraduate students.
To qualify for assistance under the Student Grant Scheme, you must also meet nationality, immigration and residency criteria. You can get more information about these criteria in our document on the Student Grant Scheme.
Fee contribution means test
The means test may be carried out on your income or your parent’s income. This depends on whether you are dependent on your parents or you are considered an independent student.
Dependent on parents
If you were ordinarily resident with your parents from October 1 of the year before the year of entry to higher education on an approved course, you are considered dependent on your parents. In this case, your income (if any) is assessed together with your parents' income(s). An allowance is made for a certain amount of your earnings outside term-time (up to €4,500).
Independent students are mature students aged over 23 who live separately from their parents from 1 October of the year before the year of entry to higher education on an approved course. If you are an independent student, you are assessed on your own income (and that of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, if applicable).
If you were classified as a dependent student you cannot be reclassified as an independent student unless there is a 3-year break in your studies.
How is the means test calculated?
The means test for the fee contribution under the Student Grant Scheme in 2021-2022 is based on your family's reckonable income for the previous full tax year (2020). If your family’s reckonable income is over the limit set by the Department of Education and Skills, you do not qualify for the fee contribution. Some social welfare payments are excluded from 'reckonable income' for the purposes of the means test - see more details on reckonable income on susi.ie and also in the Student Grant Scheme 2021.
If you or your family has had a change of circumstances after 31 December 2020, which has reduced your income permanently, your new reckonable income will be taken into account.
If you are eligible for full tuition fees from any other source, including sponsorship or an award, you do not qualify for the postgraduate fee contribution. If you are eligible for partial fees, your postgraduate fee contribution is reduced by the amount of assistance you receive.
Income limits for the fee contribution
The family income limits for a postgraduate fee contribution in 2021-2022 are set out in the table below.
|Number of dependent children||Reckonable income limits|
|Less than 4||€54,250|
|8 or more||€64,700|
The reckonable income limits may be increased by €4,830 for each additional family member who is on a full-time course of at least one year’s duration.
If you are an independent student, the family member taken into account is your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. If you are dependent on your parents, the family members taken into account are your parent(s) and their other dependent children.
Special rate of grant for disadvantaged students
Disadvantaged postgraduate students who meet a number of conditions can get their tuition fees paid and essential field trips (up to €6,270). If you meet the criteria you may also qualify for a special maintenance grant – see below.
To qualify for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students:
- You must have satisfied the conditions for the standard maintenance grant under the Student Grant Scheme for the academic year 2021-2022. You can get detailed information on the standard maintenance grant in our document on the Student Grant Scheme.
- Your total reckonable income in the tax year January to December 2020 must be €24,500 or less, not including Qualified Child Increases and standard exclusions
- Your parents or guardian (or you, if you are an independent student), must be getting certain social welfare payments or participating in a designated programme on 31 December 2020 – see below.
Qualifying social welfare payments and programmes:
- Long-term social welfare payments
- Working Family Payment (WFP) (formerly known as Family Income Supplement (FIS)
- Designated programmes (for example, a Community Employment Scheme)
These payments and programmes are listed in Schedule 2 of the Student Grant Scheme 2021.Maintenance grant (special rate)
A maintenance grant is also available for postgraduate students who qualify for the special rate of grant. The rates of maintenance grants are listed in Schedule 3 of the Student Grant Scheme 2021.
If you are getting a Back To Education Allowance (BTEA), a Vocational Training Opportunities Schemes (VTOS) allowance or you are a tuition student, you cannot get the special rate of maintenance grant. A tuition student is someone who fulfils all the conditions for a student grant except for residence in the State, but who has been resident in an EEA state or Switzerland for 3 of the last 5 years.
Tax relief is available on postgraduate tuition fees.
You should contact your college or university to find out about scholarships or bursaries. There is also some information on studentfinance.ie.
Financial institutions give loans to students to pay for postgraduate courses. Shop around for the best rates.
Where to apply
New postgraduate student grant applications
Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is the single grant-awarding authority that handles all grant applications. You must make your grant application online. You can get more information on how to apply in our document on the Student Grant Scheme
From 31 March 2021, you can make a postgraduate student grant renewal application online for the 2021-2022 academic year.
New postgraduate student grant applications will be accepted by SUSI from 22 April 2021.
After you apply, your application will be:
- Awarded: An award letter is sent to you offering you a grant and highlighting the further steps you need to take before your grant can be paid.
- Refused: A refusal letter is sent to you. The letter will also highlight the further steps you can take if you want to request a review of your grant decision.
Your grant/fee contribution is awarded when you confirm acceptance of your place (usually late August/early September) and is paid into your designated Irish bank account.
Renewal of postgraduate student grant applications
Postgraduate student grants are reviewed each year. If you had a grant in one academic year and are continuing your studies on the same course in the following year, SUSI will contact you by email and post to remind you to renew your grant application.