Glossary

Glossary

Glossary A-Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

 

Academic History

Any further or higher education courses you’ve previously studied, including courses that were not completed or where no qualification was received.

Accelerated Technician Programme

A course that takes 18 months to complete and includes a work placement. Students on accelerated technician programmes are not eligible to receive a maintenance grant whilst on a paid work placement.

Add-Backs

When SUSI is calculating reckonable income for a self-employed person, certain expenses allowed by Revenue are added back to net profits, such as depreciation, tax capital allowances, finance lease payments, wages to dependent children, etc. See Self Employment, Farming or Rental for the full list of add backs.

Adjacent/Non-Adjacent Rate

The adjacent rate of maintenance grant is paid to students whose normal residence is under 30km from the college they are attending. The non-adjacent rate is paid to students whose normal residence is 30km or over from their college. See Adjacency for more information on how adjacency is calculated.

Appeals

Students who are dissatisfied with the assessment of their grant application may appeal the decision by submitting an appeal form available at Appealing Your Grant Decision. If the appeal is unsuccessful and the student is still not satisfied with the determination, a further appeal can be made to the Student Grants Appeals Board.

Applicant Class

There are three types of applicant class: dependent student, mature dependent student and independent student. Applicant class is defined at your first point of entry to an approved Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) or higher education course, or at your point of re-entry to such a course after a three-year break in studies. Your applicant class will apply for the duration of your studies. For more information, see Applicant Class.

Application Form

The student grant application form, submitted online each year through www.susi.ie

Approved Course

An approved course is one that meets the criteria set out in the Student Support Regulations. The course must be full-time, take place in an approved institution and lead to a major education and training award in line with the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) or equivalent.

Approved Institution

All approved institutions within the State are set out in the Student Support Regulations. To meet the criteria as an approved institution outside the State, an institution must be within another EU Member State or the UK, be publicly funded and offer courses of at least two years duration (with the exception of four approved institutions in Northern Ireland where some one year postgraduate courses are approved) that lead to major education and training awards equivalent to those on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

B

 

Back to Education Allowance (BTEA)

BTEA is paid by the Department of Social Protection to people in receipt of certain social welfare payments who wish to pursue a full-time second level or third level course of education. Students in receipt of a BTEA payment are not eligible to receive a maintenance grant.

Bounce-Back Payment

A bounce back payment is a scheduled maintenance grant payment that does not reach the student’s bank account and the funds are then returned to SUSI. Incorrect bank details are the most common cause of a bounce back payment. SUSI will contact any students affected to let them know they must update their bank details online.

Break in Studies

A period where an applicant is not studying a further or higher education course that leads to a major award on the NFQ. See Applicant Class and Second Chance Student.

Bursary

A bursary is a type of financial assistance that helps with the cost of attending college. Students may still be eligible for a SUSI grant if they are in receipt of a bursary. Details of the bursary must be declared to SUSI so that we can check if it will affect your eligibility. In some cases, students receiving a bursary will not qualify for a SUSI grant.

C

 

Central Applications Office (CAO)

The CAO processes applications for undergraduate courses in higher education institutions within the State. See Central Applications Office (cao.ie)

Child Dependent Allowance/Child Dependent Increase (CDA/CDI)

CDA/CDI is an increase in social welfare payments, per dependent child, within a family unit. CDA/CDI can be deducted from your household income to bring it under the threshold to qualify for the Special Rate of maintenance grant.

City of Dublin Education and Training Board (City of Dublin ETB)

City of Dublin ETB is the state education and training authority for Dublin city. SUSI is a unit of City of Dublin ETB.

Change in Circumstances

If your circumstances have changed from 1 January following the reference period, your grant application may be assessed or reassessed by SUSI taking the new circumstances into account. See Change in Circumstances for more details on the types of changes that may impact your grant decision.

Course Change Notification Form (CCN)

A Course Change Notification form can be completed online through your student portal if an applicant has accepted a different course to the one they entered on their initial application form. Students who have given the CAO permission to share their course details with SUSI will not need to submit a CCN.

D

 

Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)

DARE is a third level alternative admissions scheme which offers places on reduced points to school leavers with disabilities. For further information, see www.accesscollege.ie/dare

Data Sharing

SUSI exchanges data with other Government bodies and agencies subject to data processing agreements. See SUSI Data Protection Statement for information on the type of data we collect, who we share it with and the reasons for processing it.

Declaration Form

The declaration form needs to be signed by the applicant and their parent(s)/legal guardian(s), spouse, civil partner or cohabitant as applicable, declaring that all information and documentation provided to SUSI is complete and accurate.

Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS)

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science funds and creates policy for the higher and further education sectors. It publishes the student grant legislation under which SUSI operates.

Department of Justice (DoJ)

SUSI shares data with the Department of Justice to validate citizenship and nationality. See www.justice.ie

Department of Social Protection (DSP)

SUSI shares data with the Department of Social Protection to verify income and to prevent and detect fraud. See gov.ie - Department of Social Protection (www.gov.ie)

Dependent Children

The number of other children in the household dependent on the applicant and/or their parent(s)/legal guardian(s), spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant, as applicable. See Income for more details.

Dependent Student

A student aged under 23 years on 1 January of the year of their first point of entry to an approved course. SUSI assesses dependent students on their own income plus the income of their parent(s)/legal guardian(s). See also ‘Applicant Class’ and  'Dependent Student.’

Disposal of Assets and Rights Form

A Disposal of Assets or Rights Table Download PDF  should completed by the applicant to give further information about the disposal of an asset or right, including details of whether a gain was made or loss incurred. SUSI will request this form only if it’s necessary.

Documentary Evidence

Documents that may be requested by SUSI to substantiate information provided in the application form. You’ll receive a personalised checklist by post to let you know which documents you need to send us.

E

 

European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Economic Area includes EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market. See ‘Nationality’ and ‘Residency’ for more information.

Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT)

Maintenance grant payments are paid directly into applicants’ bank/credit union accounts by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT).

Eligible Payments for Special Rate

If an applicant, or their parent(s)/guardian(s), spouse, or civil partner, where applicable, is in receipt of an eligible social welfare payment, they may be eligible for the Special Rate of grant if their reckonable income is less than €25,000. A list of eligible social welfare payments can be found at Special Rate

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for funding, you must be studying an approved course and meet the criteria set out in the student grant legislation. See Eligibility Criteria for more information and check out our Eligibility Indicator

Equivalent Period of Study

If a student has previously attended but not completed a course of study, they may be required to complete an equivalent period of study at their own expense before being considered eligible for grant funding. See Previous Education and Progression.

Erasmus

Erasmus stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students and is an EU student exchange programme. You can continue to receive SUSI maintenance payments for a period of up to one year while studying abroad, including whilst on Erasmus.

Estrangement

Dependent or mature dependent students who are irreconcilably estranged from their parents may be assessed on their own income. SUSI will request documentary evidence which must specifically confirm estrangement.

EU (European Union)  

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states. Approved courses for student grants must take place in the State, the EU, or the United Kingdom (UK). See ‘Nationality’ and ‘Residency’.

Exceptional Circumstances

If a student must leave a course or repeat a year due to exceptional circumstances, for example proven medical circumstances, they may still be eligible for a grant for a repeat period of study when returning to college. Students should tell SUSI about their exceptional circumstances, and we will request documentary evidence to support the application.

Exceptional Needs Payment

A single payment from the Department of Social Protection to help meet essential, once-off expenditure, such as funeral expenses. Exceptional Needs Payments are not included when calculating an applicant’s reckonable income.

F

 

Farm Assist

Farm Assist is a means-tested payment for low income farmers, paid by the Department of Social Protection. It is an eligible payment for the Special Rate of maintenance grant.

Fee Grant

The Fee Grant is made up of three elements:
a) Tuition fee element – grant which covers the tuition fees for an applicant’s course when fees are not met under the Free Fees Initiative (FFI)
b) Student Contribution element – grant which covers the student contribution charge payable when a student qualifies for free tuition fees under the Free Fees Initiative.
c) Field Trip element – grant which covers specific costs incurred on a compulsory field trip.

Free Fees Initiative (FFI)

Most undergraduate students attending publicly funded third level courses are eligible to have their tuition fees paid by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science under the Free Fees Initiative. To qualify for free fees, students must meet certain eligibility criteria based on residency, nationality, and course requirements. When a student’s tuition fees are covered by the FFI, they may still be eligible for a grant from SUSI to cover their Student Contribution charge.

Field Trip - Compulsory

Some students may have to take part in a compulsory field trip as part of their course, for fact-finding or research purposes. In some circumstances, SUSI may refund travel and accommodation expenses directly associated with the trip. See Compulsory Field Trips for further information.

Financial Assistance

Other Financial Assistance refers to scholarships, prizes, allowances, bursaries, or awards received to help with the costs of attending college. Students may still be eligible for a SUSI grant if they are in receipt of Other Financial Assistance. Details of the assistance must be declared to SUSI so that we can check if it will affect your eligibility. In some cases, students receiving Other Financial Assistance will not qualify for a SUSI grant.

First Point of Entry

The date that an applicant first attends any approved further or higher education course. This term is used when determining applicant class.

G

 

General Register Office (GRO)

The central national repository for records relating to births, stillbirths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths. SUSI shares data with the GRO to validate nationality, date of birth and death records.

Gifts and Inheritances Form

A Gifts and Inheritances Table Download PDF should be completed by the applicant to give further information on any gifts or inheritances received in the reference period. SUSI will only request this form if it’s necessary.

Gross Income

Income before any deductions are made for PAYE, income tax and other taxes, PRSI, income levies, etc. This also includes income that is described as ‘tax-free,’ ‘tax-paid,’ ‘not liable to tax’ or ‘exempt from tax.’

H

 

Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)

A higher education admissions scheme which offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For further information, see  HEAR - Access College

Higher Education Authority (HEA)

The authority within Ireland responsible for the governance and regulation of the higher education system. See Higher Education Authority (hea.ie)

Holiday Earnings

Holiday Earnings are income earned by the applicant outside term time. A deduction from reckonable income can be made for Holiday Earnings for applicants who were in full time education and employed during the reference period. A maximum of €6,552 earned in 2022 can be deducted as Holiday Earnings.

I

 

Income Deductions

For a list of income deductions and adjustments that can be made by SUSI when calculating reckonable income, see Income.

Income Deductions – Special Rate

If an applicant is eligible for a grant and is close to the reckonable income limit to qualify for the Special Rate of maintenance grant, the Child Dependent Increase/Allowance (CDI/CDA) can be deducted from reckonable income. See Special Rate. 

Income Disregards

Several social welfare payments and other allowances are not included when calculating an applicant’s reckonable income. A list of these payments is available at Income

Income Thresholds

The set thresholds of ‘Reckonable Income’ which determine the rate of grant to be awarded by SUSI. The income thresholds for PLC, undergraduate and postgraduate courses can be found at Income

Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)

IQA is an increase in social welfare payments per dependent adult within a family unit. See further information at gov.ie - Increase for a Qualified Adult (www.gov.ie)

Independent Student

A student aged over 23 years on 1 January of the year they first entered an approved course and who did not ordinarily reside with their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) from the October prior to that year. This student will be assessed on their own income and that of their spouse/civil partner/cohabitant, as applicable. See ‘Applicant Class’ above and Independent Student

J

 
   

K

 
   

L

 

Legal Guardian(s)

A legal guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court and has the legal authority and corresponding duty to make decisions for another person. Income of parent(s)/legal guardian(s) is included in the assessment of applications from dependent and mature dependent students.

Legislation

Eligibility for student grants is assessed under the following legislation - the Student Support Act 2011, the Student Grant Scheme of the relevant year and the Student Support Regulations of the relevant year.

Lump Sum

To calculate reckonable income, a proportion of any lump sum payments received in the reference year, e.g. from retirement or redundancy, is considered. The lump sum amount is divided by the number of years’ service.

M

 

Maintenance Grant

The maintenance grant is a contribution towards day to day living costs and is paid directly to eligible students through nine monthly instalments over the academic year. The amount payable will depend on the student’s reckonable income. See Income for grant award rates.

Mature Dependent Student

A student aged over 23 years on 1 January in the year they first entered or re-entered an approved course and who was living with their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) in the October prior to that year. See Dependent Students

Maximum Period of Funding/Grant Assistance

There are maximum periods of grant assistance available at PLC, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. See Previous Education and Progression for the funding available at each level.

N

 

Nationality

An applicant must be an Irish, EU, EEA, UK, or Swiss Federation national to receive funding from SUSI. Alternatively, they may be eligible if they are resident in Ireland with a specific immigration status. See Nationality Criteria.

National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)

See National Framework of Qualifications | Quality and Qualifications Ireland (qqi.ie)

Non-Recurring Overtime

Overtime payments earned in the reference period that are not recurring may be deducted from your reckonable income. SUSI will need evidence from your employer that overtime will not be available for the foreseeable future.

Normal Residence

The address at which an applicant is usually resident, outside term time. For a dependent or mature dependent student this will be their parents’ address. This is the address used to decide whether an adjacent or non-adjacent rate of maintenance grant is to be awarded. See ‘Adjacent/Non-Adjacent Rate’ above and Adjacency.

O

 

Ombudsman, Office of the

The Ombudsman examines complaints from people who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public service providers, including SUSI. Please contact SUSI first if you have a complaint about our service. Our complaints process can be found at Complaints.

Overpayments

Where any grant overpayment occurs, SUSI must seek repayment from the student and/or the relevant institution.

P

 

Payment/Payment Schedule

A list of maintenance grant payment dates for eligible PLC, undergraduate and postgraduate students is available at Payments.  

Placement

A period of study ‘off-campus’ which forms an integral part of an approved undergraduate or postgraduate course, during which maintenance grant payments will continue to be paid, except in cases of students studying accelerated technician programmes.

Post Leaving Certificate (PLC)

PLC courses lead to further education awards placed at levels 5 and 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). They take place within the State and are approved by SOLAS, the further education and training authority. The list of approved PLC courses is available at Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) Centres /Approved Courses

Postgraduate Fee Contribution

A contribution towards the cost of attending a postgraduate course, payable directly to the student’s college. See Postgraduate Income Thresholds and Grant Award Rates

Progression

Progression means successfully moving from one year of an approved course to the next year or attending a course that leads to a higher level of qualification than any you may already hold. Students must be progressing in their education to be eligible for a grant. Repeat periods of study will only be funded by SUSI in exceptional circumstances or where the student qualifies under the ‘second chance’ criteria. See Previous Education and Progression

Q

 

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

 See Quality and Qualifications Ireland (qqi.ie)

R

 

Reckonable Income

This is the proportion of your gross income to be considered by SUSI in calculating if you are eligible for a grant. The amount of reckonable income will determine the rate of funding that you could receive. See Income.

Reclassification

An applicant’s class can be redefined when moving between further and higher education for the first time or when the applicant has had a break in studies of at least three years.

Re-entry

If a student has previously attended a further or higher education course and subsequently has a break in studies of at least three years, they will be treated as a ‘re-entry’ student and their applicant class can be redefined.

Reference Year/Period

The reference period is 1 January to 31 December of the year prior to the academic year that the grant application is made for e.g. for the 2023/24 academic year the reference period is 1 January to 31 December 2022. Income earned during the reference period will be used to assess the application.

Registration

Students must formally register on their course at the start of each academic year. SUSI will confirm students’ registration directly with colleges each year before any grant payments are made.

Relevant Person

A relevant person is another person within the household who is also attending a full-time course of study in further or higher education at the same time as the applicant. The reckonable income thresholds can be adjusted to take account of each additional relevant person. This may improve the applicant’s rate of maintenance grant. See Relevant Person in Further and Higher Education.

Renewal Applicant/Application

SUSI reviews grant awards each year. If you’re continuing the same course in the same college, you must renew your application every year. If you decide to change your course or college, or if you’re starting a new course, you’ll need to make a new application. See Renewal Applications.

Rental Income

Income gained from the rental of land or property during the reference period. SUSI will request a set of your rental accounts as adjusted profits will be included in your reckonable income. See Self Employment, Farming or Rental.

Repeat Period of Study

If a student has previously attended but not completed a course of study, they may be required to complete a repeat period of study at their own expense before being considered eligible for grant funding. See Previous Education and Progression.

Residency

You must have been ordinarily resident in the Irish State, another EU or EEA member State, the UK or Switzerland for three of the five years prior to starting an approved course. See Residency Criteria.

S

 

Scholarship

A scholarship is a type of financial assistance that helps with the cost of attending college. Students may be eligible for a SUSI grant if they are in receipt of a scholarship. Details of the scholarship must be declared to SUSI so that we can check if it will affect your eligibility. In some cases, students receiving a scholarship will not qualify for a SUSI grant.

Second Chance Student

If you previously attended but did not complete a course, you may be eligible for funding as a second chance student. To meet the criteria, you must be a mature student returning to college after a 3 year break in studies. For the 2023/24 academic year, the break in studies has been reduced to three years. See Previous Education and Progression.

Student Grants Appeals Board (SGAB)

Applicants who are dissatisfied with the outcome of an appeal to SUSI may appeal further to the Student Grants Appeals Board (SGAB). The SGAB will determine whether the student grant legislation has been applied correctly. The SGAB is independent of SUSI and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS).

SOLAS

SOLAS is the State agency for the further education and training sector in Ireland. SOLAS determines the list of approved Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses each year

Special Rate

Rate of maintenance grant available if total reckonable income is below a specified threshold (currently €25,000) and includes a qualifying long-term social welfare payment on 31 December of the previous year. More details on the Special Rate can be found at Special Rate of Grant.

State

The Republic of Ireland.

Student Contribution

When the Free Fees Initiative (FFI) covers undergraduate tuition fees, students are still liable to pay a separate charge to their college each year called the Student Contribution. Students whose tuition fees are covered by the FFI may be eligible for a grant from SUSI to cover their Student Contribution charge.

Student Grant Scheme

The legislation upon which the assessment and awarding of student grants is based. The Student Grant Scheme is updated annually by DFHERIS. 

Student Support Act 2011

The legislation upon which the assessment and awarding of student grants is based. Student Support Act 2011

Student Support Regulations

The legislation upon which the assessment and awarding of student grants is based. The Student Support Regulations are updated annually by DFHERIS. 

Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)

Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is Ireland’s national awarding authority for further and higher education grants.

Study Abroad

Where a student is required to undertake a period of study abroad, up to one year in duration, as an integral part of their course. Students eligible for a maintenance grant may continue to receive their payments during their study abroad.

T

 

Tuition Student

Any student that has been resident outside of Ireland but within the EU, EEA, the UK or Switzerland for three of the last five years. A tuition student is eligible for a fee grant only and is not eligible for any form of maintenance grant.

U

 

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)

UCAS is the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses throughout the UK. See UCAS | At the heart of connecting people to higher education

V

 

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) is an educational opportunities scheme which provides a special range of courses designed to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people.

W

 

Woodlands Table

A Woodlands Income Table Download PDF to be completed by the applicant to give further information about income gained from woodlands. SUSI will request this form only if necessary.

Working Family Payment (WFP)

Working Family Payment is a weekly tax-free payment for employees with children, paid by the Department of Social Protection. It supports people who are on low pay. WFP is an eligible payment for the Special Rate of maintenance grant. It was previously called Family Income Supplement (FIS)

X

 
   

Y

 
   

Z