Hear and Dare: promoting equity of access

Published date24 January 2023
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
In recognition of this, the State has two nationwide schemes that set out to level out the playing field. In place since the early noughties, the two schemes are Hear, which stands for the Higher Education Access Route, and Dare, which stands for the Disability Access Route to Education

Hear scheme

Imelda Byrne, head of the access centre at the University of Galway, said the Hear scheme's aim is primarily to increase the number of people who are disadvantaged socio- economically who attend third-level education. "We're talking about people who are on low income. That's the mandatory criteria in terms of being eligible," she said

The income limit for the Hear scheme is €46,790 for a family with fewer than four dependent children, €51,325 for families with between four and seven dependent children and €55,630 for those with more than eight children.

"Other indicators of disadvantage under that socio-economic bracket would be [to be] in receipt of social welfare, attending a Deis school, living in a Deis area or being in receipt of a medical card. You don't have to meet all of those, it's a combination of indicators, but the one that is mandatory is that people are on low income."

Ms Byrne said the scheme is recognition that, for some people, disadvantage experienced in the home has prevented them from being able to fulfill their full potential in the State exams.

"It's targeted at people who do the Leaving Cert and who may not get their points, and indeed those who do get their points," she said.

"The main benefit for people doing the Leaving Cert is if they don't reach their points is that each higher education institution that's linked to the scheme provides a number of reduced points places in all programmes in all schools, in all colleges within the University of Galway and similarly in other universities and technological universities."

The reduced points places depend on a number of factors, including the overall number of places on a course, the number of reserved Hear and Dare places on the course, and the number of eligible students competing for the reduced- point places.

Some higher education institutions provide additional detail on their websites on the number of reduced points courses, as well as the method they use for selecting eligible students. To be awarded one of the reduced points places, students still need to meet the minimum entry requirements and any programme-specific requirements.

In addition, the Hear scheme also provides...

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