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The Student Assistance Fund is managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. The Student Assistance Fund is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

About the Student Assistance Fund

The purpose of the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is to provide financial support to disadvantaged students with ongoing needs for financial support and to provide emergency financial assistance for other students.

The SAF is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

Eligibility criteria changes from year to year, therefore, eligibility in previous years does not guarantee that you are eligible in this current academic year

Who can apply? 

The student assistance fund is for students who are EU citizens or students who have been deemed eligible for the free fees. The fund is open to registered students on courses of no less than one year's duration.

Full-time registered students on courses that lead to a higher education award at Level 6-10 of the national framework of qualifications can apply.

Part-time registered students must be from one of the target groups listed below as specified by the HEA’s National Access Plan:

  • Lone parents
  • Students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds: in receipt of a means tests Social Welfare Payment
  • Students with disabilities
  • Members of the Irish Travelling Community

Meeting the above criteria does not automatically deem you eligible as all your financial situation will be taken into account. 

The Student Assistance Fund assists with costs such as:

  • Rent
  • Books/Materials
  • Living Expenses – Food/Heating/Lighting
  • Transport – Essential - to/from university
  • Medical Expenses – Doctor/Dentist/Other
  • Emergency (This includes bereavement, accidents, family breakdown or other unforeseen circumstances)

Funding is NOT available to cover:

  • Tuition fees
  • Registration fees
  • Student loan repayments

Please note international students are not eligible to apply for SAF

Procedures for applying

When can I apply for the student assistance fund?

The Student Assistance Fund is open for applications for the 2020/21 academic year.

How do I apply?

Full-time students

All applicants must fully complete an online application via NCI360 and then an online form, please include all relevant supporting documentation. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Part-time students

Part-time students are required to complete this form to apply for the Student Assistance Fund SAF Part-time application form. Note that you must upload supporting documentation to the form to complete your application. If you have any queries, please email saf@ncirl.ie

HEAR applicants

This year all HEAR students can apply for a reserved SAF payment. Please apply here HEAR SAF Application Form. Please note you will not receive a payment without uploading your HEAR letter from the CAO. If you have misplaced this, please contact the CAO for a copy. 

This payment is not guaranteed and may verify from year to year, depending on funding. 

All applications will then be reviewed by members of the SAF committee at a monthly meeting. An email will be sent to all applicants notifying them of the outcome of the committee's decision. 

What documentation do I need? 

Full-time students

Students who are living with their parents and under 23 will need to provide the below in their parent's name and their own. Students who are over 23 can submit their own. You can upload documentation as part of the online application. 

  • Proof of the financial emergency 
  • Social welfare receipt (yours or parent/s?) 
  • Last three months bank statement from all bank accounts, credit Union in your name (also your parents) 
  • Payslips if you are working? Or proof that you are not working currently, proof of seasonal work. (your and parents) 
  • SUSI grant letter or back to Education allowance? (if you have) 
  • 2019 P21 (yours and parents) 
  • Rent or mortgage receipt? (your or parents if you have) 
  • Bills (household bills or any other bills you think are relevant) (yours or parents) 
  • Loans (yours and parents) 
  • Proof of European citizenship for the student applying only (photocopy of your passport or birth-cert) 

Part-time students:

  • Will need proof of meeting the targeted groups 
  • Last three months bank statement from all bank accounts, credit Union in your name (also your parents) 
  • Payslips if you are working or proof that you are not working currently, proof of seasonal work 
  • 2019 P21 
  • Rent or mortgage receipt
  • Bills (household bills or any other bills you think are relevant) 
  • Loans 
  • Proof of European citizenship for the student applying only (photocopy of your passport or birth-cert)

Appeals

Students who are not satisfied with the outcome of their decision can have their application re-considered. Students must complete and return their student assistance appeal form to saf@ncirl.ie. Students will be informed via email of the decision of their appeal.

For all other queries relating to the Student Assistance Fund please contact saf@ncirl.ie.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQs provide further information on the Student Assistance Fund at NCI including the types of applications and making an appointment.

Eligibility Information

Who can apply for the Student Assistance Fund (SAF)?

All registered NCI students who meet the qualifying criteria can avail of the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). 

I am worried about having enough money while in college – can this service help me?

The SAF is a one-time payment that can help if you find yourself in financial difficulty while in college. If you are thinking about coming to NCI or are about to start, it can really help to check out fees for your programme and general college costs. You can also review the resources below to to ensure you can afford the ongoing costs of college:

Contact MABS for free budgeting advice. 

What financial assistance is there to help me pay for college? 

You may be qualified for the SUSI grant or Back to Education Allowance (BETA) which can help pay for your course fees. NCI also offers a number of scholarships and discounts.

Note: The SAF cannot be used to pay fees and is a onetime payment to help with a financial emergencies.

Types of Applications

What is the SAF Student Emergency application?

The SAF Student Emergency application is available to assist full-time students who are experiencing unforeseen and immediate financial difficulties as a result of a once-off emergency event. Some of these may be homelessness, family bereavement or sudden loss of income.

Is there any financial help available for part-time students? 

Part-time students can apply for the Student Assistance Fund if they meet the criteria.

I am a HEAR student, can I apply for the SAF? 

All HEAR students will be asked to fill out a form and upload their HEAR letter as proof. If you meet the criteria, you will receive a once-off SAF payment. This payment is determined by the amount of HEAR students and funding NCI receives, therefore it is subject to change. 

HEAR students who experience a financial emergency during the academic year can apply to SAF again.

Is there any financial help available for students with disabilities?

All registered NCI students who are struggling financially can apply for the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). 

My circumstances have changed suddenly, what can I do? 

You can contact saf@ncirl.ie for advice on the SAF or apply directly to the SAF for financial assistance. 

I have reduced earnings due to COVID-19, can I apply for the SAF? 

Students must meet the qualifying criteria; however the application process will take into account if there has been loss of earnings due to COVID-19.

Financial Help Available

Can I get help with my living expenses? 

This may be possible. Please email saf@ncirl.ie for further information on the funding options and for advice.

Can I get help with my travel expenses? 

The Student LEAP card is available which reduces travel costs. Other assistance may be possible from SAF. 

Can I get help to pay for childcare? 

All college related expenses can be considered for SAF (including childcare) so if you think you are eligible, you can apply to the SAF (read above for instructions on how to apply). You can also email saf@ncirl.ie for advice. 

Can I get financial help for repeat exams? 

None of the funding provided by the SAF can be used for the payment of fees. We may be able to help with the extra expenses related to repeat exams (i.e. loss of earnings, travel costs), you can also email saf@ncirl.ie for advice. 

Can I get funding for a repeat year? 

You may be able to apply to SUSI under Exceptional Circumstances for a repeat year, e.g. medical circumstances. You may be eligible for financial assistance during your repeat year if you meet the criteria.

Making an Appointment

How do I make an appointment to see the Student Engagement and Retention Officer? 

To make an appointment, please email saf@ncirl.ie. The Student Engagement and Retention Officer can organise an appointment with you to chat on MS Teams. 

Why might I need an appointment with the Student Engagement and Retention Officer? 

To talk about money concerns, attendance and withdrawals. 

What can I expect at a meeting? 

A 10-15-minute chat giving guidance and advice. Please note that for the SAF, this will not be suitable for a full assessment for financial assistance. 

Can I apply for the SAF without meeting with the Student Engagement and Retention officer? 

You do not need to meet with the Student Engagement and Retention officer to apply for the SAF. You can meet if you need clarification or advice only.