The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is an admissions scheme for students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. The scheme aims to improve access to college for school-leavers from socio-economic backgrounds that are under-represented in third-level education. Under the HEAR scheme a number of third-level places are allocated to school-leavers on a reduced points basis. To be eligible for the scheme you must meet certain indicators or criteria related to your financial, social and cultural circumstances. For more info on eligibility indicators click here.
How the scheme works
Each of the third-level colleges participating in the scheme has reserved a number of places on its courses for school-leavers who are eligible for HEAR. You can find details of the places available through HEAR on the websites of the participating third-level colleges.
You apply for HEAR through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Once you have been accepted as eligible for HEAR, you then compete for the reduced point places based on your Leaving Certificate results. A reduced point place means that you may get a place on a third-level course with fewer than the full CAO points. For example, if you are eligible for HEAR and you get 350 Leaving Certificate points, you may be offered a place on a course that is 360 points through CAO. However, you must meet the college matriculation and any specific course entry requirements.
If you get a place through HEAR you will also be offered a range of supports while you are studying at college, such as an orientation programme, extra tuition, study skills and mentoring. The supports available will vary from college to college.
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