Text Size: A A A

Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)



The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a supplementary admissions scheme for school leavers with disabilities. DARE was established by a number of colleges and universities as clear evidence shows that disability can have a negative impact on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.

School leavers who meet the eligibility criteria compete for a quota of places allocated to applicants on a reduced points basis in National College of Ireland. All applicants must meet the Irish Leaving Certificate (or equivalent), matriculation / minimum entry and subject requirements. As the minimum entry and subject requirements may be different for each course, applicants should check this prospectus for the requirements of each preference listed on your CAO form.



Who Should Apply to DARE?

DARE is for school leavers (under 23 years old as at January 1st 2016), who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education but who may not meet the points for their preferred course, due to the impact of a disability.  Mature and FETAC students have different admissions routes.

How to Apply to DARE?

  • Apply to CAO by 17:15 on 1st February 2016.
  • No later than 17:15 on 1st March 2016, you must disclose your disability and/or specific learning difficulty in your CAO application and fully and correctly complete Section A of the Supplementary Information Form (the SIF is a part of your CAO application).  If you wish to be considered for the DARE scheme, you must indicate this on Section A of the fully completed SIF by ticking “Yes” to Question 5 by 17:15 on 1st March 2016.
  • You must return the fully completed Second Level Academic Reference (Section B) and Evidence of Disability (Section C) of the SIF to arrive at CAO no later than 17:15 on 1st April 2016. 

Applicants with a Specific Learning Difficulty or Dyspraxia must return a fully completed psycho-educational assessment completed by an appropriately qualified Psychologist, in place of Section C. Applicants with Dyspraxia must also provide additional verification (For more information on evidence of disability see www.accesscollege.ie). 

Condition of a DARE Offer

Students who receive a DARE offer must register with the Disability Service and agree on a schedule of meetings with the service.

More Information on DARE is available from your school Guidance Counsellor or NCI’s disability support office. Information can also be found on: www.accesscollege.ie, www.cao.ie.


Frequently Asked Questions


Who should apply to HEAR?

HEAR is for school leavers (under the age of 23 as of January 1st of the year of application for study), who have completed an Irish Leaving Certificate. Mature and FETAC students have their own admissions routes and should contact NCI Admissions Offices for more information. 
HEAR applicants must meet a range of financial, social and cultural indicators to be eligible for a reduced points place and extra college support. Applicants must provide specific documentation to verify which indicators they meet. All documents must be appropriately verified and returned to the CAO. Further information on supporting documentation is available on www.accesscollege.ie
Eligible applicants must satisfy HEAR criteria plus NCI’s entry requirements and any specific course requirements.



What is DARE?

DARE stands for Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). It is a supplementary admissions scheme which offers college places on reduced points to school leavers with disabilities. DARE has been set up by a number of colleges as evidence shows that disability can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college. Full details on DARE are available on www.accesscollege.ie.


What is HEAR?

Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. HEAR has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that socio-economic disadvantage can have a negative impact on educational attainment at school and progression to higher education. Full details on HEAR are available on www.accesscollege.ie.


Who should apply to DARE?

DARE is for school leavers (under 23 years old as at January 1st of the year of application for study) who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education but who may not be able to meet the points for their preferred course due to the impact of a disability. Please note that mature students are not eligible for DARE. NCI has a specific admissions route for mature students and further information can be obtained from the Admissions Office.


How do I apply to DARE?

Apply to the CAO at www.cao.ie and indicate you have a disability or specific learning difficulty on the CAO application form. You must then complete a Supplementary Information Form and submit specific disability documentation from an accepted consultant/ professional. This documentation must confirm your disability and the impact your disability has had on your education to date. Details on accepted consultants/ professionals and documentation required are available from www.accesscollege.ie.


How do I apply to HEAR?

Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie as part of the CAO application process indicating NCI as a college choice. Applicants must then complete the separate online HEAR Application Form.


see all
get in touch

Online Enquiry