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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.

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

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

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

COVID-19 – Student Assistance Fund
If you are applying to the Student Assistance Fund because of financial hardship specifically related to COVID-19, you may qualify for a special Pandemic Unemployment Payment from the DEASP. This payment of €350 per week is available to non-EU/EEA students as well as EU citizens, over the age of 18, who have lost full/part-time work (employed or self-employed) because of COVID-19. Please note, applications to the Student Assistance Fund are decided on an individual basis, taking into account your full financial picture, including any payments from the Department of Employment and Social Protection.

Procedures for applying

Applications for SAF will still continue during COVID-19 and will take into account your full financial picture, including any payments from the Dept. of Employment and Social Protection. Please proceed as normal.

Full-time Applicants:
All applicants must fully complete an online application via NCI360 and include all relevant supporting documentation. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Your application 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.

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

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.