If you’re really stuck for money you can see if you qualify for a grant from your local authority. The closing date this year was August 31st, but if you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to ring your local authority and ask if they can accept a late application – some authorities are more lenient than others in accepting late applicants.
There are a couple of criteria you have to fill to be considered eligible to apply for a maintenance grant: you have to be at least 17 years old, and you have to be either an EU national, have official refugee status, or have official humanitarian leave to stay in the country.
The grant is means tested, and it’s based on your parents’ income, unless you’re over 23 (in which case it’s based on your own). The grant comes in five increments: you can get 100%, 75%, 50%, or 25% of the grant along with having your registration fee paid, or you can get 50% of your registration fee paid. This all depends on how much you or your parents earn per year, and also on the number of children in the family attending college. It also depends on how far your family home is from college. Confusing? Don’t worry, it’s not as bizarre as it sounds.
In some cases where two or more children or a candidate’s parent are pursuing an approved course of study in third level education, the income limits may be increased in variable increments from €4670-4830 (€4980 PG). These terms are subject to change and may change.
Now the important stuff: how much are you entitled to? If your family home is more than 45km from the college, you qualify for the non-adjacent rate: this rate is designed to make up for the fact that it costs more to live away from home. It’s still not very generous, though…and if you live less than 45km from the college, you qualify for the adjacent rate, which is a good deal less.
Maintenance is paid three times a year, once each term or can some monthly in smaller sums. The Student Records Office are responsible for handing out the cheques to students: you can contact the students union or Academic Registry directly to find out if you’re grant application has been sent through. Some arrive earlier than others, so if yours hasn’t arrived yet, call into the office and I can help you figure out whats going on. It may be a backlog with Academic Registry. If it’s really late, you can ring them up and demand to know why it isn’t here yet, or you can call into my office and I’ll ring them and demand on your behalf.