Postgraduate student grants

Introduction

Students enrolling in postgraduate courses may get financial assistance under the Student Grant Scheme.

Postgraduate student grant

Postgraduates 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 assistance under the Scheme for courses elsewhere in the EU.

There are 2 ways postgraduates may qualify for assistance under the Student Grant Scheme. They may either:

1.Get a new flat rate fee contribution of €2,000, if they pass the fee contribution means test – see below

Or

2.Get all their tuition fees paid and essential field trips (up to €6,270), if they meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students – see below

Only postgraduate students who qualify for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students can get a 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 the criteria for nationality and immigration status, and residency. More information about these criteria can be found in our document on Grants for student in further and higher education.

Fee contribution means test

The means test may be carried out on your income or your parent’s income. It will depend on whether you are an independent mature student or dependent on your 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 of 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.

The means test for the fee contribution under the Student Grant Scheme in 2019-2020 is based on your family's reckonable income for the previous full tax year (2018). If your family’s reckonable income is over the limit set by the Department of Education and Skills you will 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 2019 (pdf).

If you or your family has had a change of circumstances after 31 December 2018, which has reduced your income permanently, your new reckonable income will be taken into account.

If you are eligible for full assistance with the tuition fee from any other source, including sponsorship or an award, you will not qualify for the postgraduate fee contribution. If you are eligible for partial assistance, your postgraduate fee contribution will be reduced by the amount of assistance you receive.

Income limits for the fee contribution

The family income limits for eligibility for a postgraduate fee contribution in 2019-2020 are set out in the table below.

Number of dependent children Reckonable income limits
Less than 4 €31,500
4-7 €34,615
8 or more €37,580

The reckonable income limits may be increased by €4,980 for each additional family member who is pursuing 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 tuition fees paid and essential field trips (up to €6,270). Students can also qualify for a special rate of 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 2019-2020. Detailed information on the standard maintenance grant is available in our document on Grants for student in further and higher education
  • Your total reckonable income in the tax year January to December 2018 must not be more than €24,000, net of social welfare Qualified Child Increases and standard exclusions
  • If you are an independent student, you must be getting certain social welfare payment or participating in a designated programme on 31 December 2018 – see below. If you are dependent on your parents, your parent(s)/guardian(s) must be getting certain social welfare payment or participating in a designated programme on 31 December 2018 – 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 2019 (pdf).

Maintenance grant (special rate)

A special rate of 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 2019 (pdf).

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.

Other supports

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 are providing 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. More information on how to apply about these criteria can be found in our document on Grants for student in further and higher education.

The online application system for the 2019/20 academic year is open from 25 April 2019.

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 student grant applications

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.

Page edited: 18 April 2019