Student Financial Assistance

 SUSI Maintenance Grant Scheme


The Department of Education and Skills provides a means-tested maintenance grant for learners attending full-time Further Education courses. Information regarding eligibility and application details is available at

New Grant Applications:

How do I make my new grant application?

The online application facility is available through Remember, it will not be necessary to have received an offer of a college place or to be enrolled in college in order to apply online.

How can I contact SUSI?


Renewing your grant

A renewal student is anyone who is continuing on the same course, at the same college on the same level, who has previously held a grant for their current course.

Applicants with previous SUSI Grant

If you received your student grant from SUSI in the previous academic year and you are continuing on the same course, you will be contacted by SUSI. When you have received contact you need to login to your last year’s user account and make a renewal application as per instructions. website also provides useful information for prospective students.

VTOS – Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme

VTOS Logo1The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people. This scheme allows successful applicants to keep their Social Welfare Allowances while attending their course in the college. To qualify for VTOS applicants must be over 21 years of age and have been receiving social welfare benefits for at least 156 days (6 months). You may qualify for VTOS if you are unemployed and receiving any of the following benefits for at least 6 months:


Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit.
One Parent Family Allowance.
Blind Pension.
Deserted Wife’s Allowance; Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension; Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension.
Prisoner’s Spouse Allowance.
An Adult Dependent on a person in receipt of Unemployment Assistance.
A person on Disability Allowance.
A person on Illness Benefit (you must apply to the Exemption Section, Dept of Social, Community & Family Affairs, Store St. Dublin 1 for an exemption to attend the course).

Please note:

Places are LIMITED on the VTOS programme and are prioritised on the basis of:

A. Educational need
B. Period of time in receipt of Social Welfare payments

How do I apply for VTOS?

See VTOS page for contact details for each VTOS Co-ordinator in Cork Education & Training Board.

More detailed information about the rates of payment for VTOS participants can be found on the Department of Social Protection website.

If you fail to get a place on the VTOS programme, you may apply for Back-to-Education-Allowance (BTEA) please note applications for BTEA must be made directly through your Social Welfare Office.


VTOS is funded by the Irish Government and part-financed by the European Union under the National Development Plan, 2007-2013

BTEA – Back to Education Allowance

The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is a scheme for unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities who are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection.  Click here to view up-to-date information on qualifying criteria and information.

The allowance can be paid to people who wish to undertake approved second or third level courses of education. BTEA is not an unemployment payment. This weekly allowance is not means tested and you can work part-time without affecting your BTEA payment.

For current information on the schemes qualifying conditions, please contact your local Social Welfare Office or:

Back to Education Schemes
Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services,
Government Buildings, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.

Tel: (071) 96 72698

How do I apply for the Back to Education Allowance?

If you think you are eligible for the BTEA and you have been accepted on an approved course in a College, you should complete the Social Welfare form BTE 1.

The BTE 1 form is available from your local social welfare office or you can access the form directly here BTE 1 form and print it off.

Please note applications for BTEA must be made directly through your Social Welfare Office.

Applications for BTEA must be made prior to commencement of an approved course but late applications will be accepted if received within 30 days of the commencement date of the course, provided there are reasonable grounds for doing so.