Glossary A-Z


Academic HistoryFor grant eligibility purposes, any Further or Higher Education courses undertaken by an applicant (whether or not completed and/or qualification attained).
Accelerated Technician ProgrammeA course, offered through Institutes of Technology, that takes eighteen months to complete, part of which is on work placement. Students on such courses, who are eligible for a Maintenance Grant, are not eligible to receive such payments whilst on a paid work placement.
Add-BacksWhen calculating ‘reckonable income’ for a self-employed person, certain deductions, as per the Revenue Commissioner’s computations, are ‘added back’, i.e. depreciation and tax capital allowances, finance lease payments, wages to dependent children, etc.
Adjacent/Non-Adjacent RateThe ‘adjacent rate’ of Maintenance Grant is paid to students whose normal residence is 45km or less from the approved institution they are attending and, conversely, those whose normal residence is over 45km from their approved institution will be paid the non-adjacent rate.
AppealsIf an awarded student is unsatisfied with the determination made, they are at liberty to submit a formal SUSI Appeal.Form Appealing Your Grant Decision. If that appeal is turned down and the student is still not satisfied with the determination, a further appeal can be made to the Student Grants Appeal Board.
Applicant ClassThere are two classes of applicant, namely Dependent (see also ‘Mature Dependent’) and Independent. An applicant's class is defined at their first point of entry to an approved post leaving certificate course or an approved higher education course, or at their point of re-entry to such an approved course, and will continue to apply for the duration of their studies. An applicant’s class can be redefined on moving from further to higher education or when re-entering education further to a break of at least 3 years. Applicant Class
Application FormStudent Grant Application Form.
Approved CourseAn Approved Course is one that meets the criteria set out in the Student Support Regulations i.e. that the course is full-time, leads to a major education and training award in line with the NFQ or equivalent, etc.
Approved InstitutionAll ‘Approved Institutions’ within the State are set out in the Student Support Regulations . To be deemed an Approved Institution outside the State, the institution must be within another EU Member State, be in receipt of recurrent monies from public funds and offer courses of at least two years duration (with the exception of four approved institutions in Northern Ireland where certain 1 year Postgraduate courses are deemed approved) that lead to major education and training awards equivalent to those on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Back to Education Allowance Scheme (BTEA)See ‘BTEA’ below.
Bounce-back PaymentA ‘Bounce-back Payment’ is a scheduled Maintenance Grant payment that, for a variety of reasons, does not reach the student’s bank account and ‘bounces back’ to SUSI’s bank account. The most common cause of such payments 'bouncing back' relates to incorrect bank details being input. The Payment Section of SUSI will be aware of such occurrences and will contact affected applicants to resolve such issues.
Break in StudiesA period of at least five years gap since an applicant last commenced, but did not complete, a further or higher education course of study and where a student in such circumstances will not be deemed required to undertake a repeat period of study.
BTEA (Back to Education Allowance Scheme)BTEA is an education scheme for people in receipt of certain Social Welfare payments who wish to pursue a full-time second level or third level course of education. For grant eligibility purposes, students in receipt of a BTEA payment are not eligible to receive a Maintenance Grant.
BursaryA student is deemed not eligible for grant funding if they are in receipt of a bursary, apart from notable exceptions, from public funds in the State, or any Member State, in respect of the approved course being attended.
CAO (Central Applications Office)The CAO processes applications for undergraduate courses in Higher Education Institutions within the State. See
CDA/CDI (Child Dependant Allowance/Child Dependant Increase)CDA/CDI is an increase in Social Welfare payments, per dependent child, within a family unit.
CDETB (City of Dublin Education and Training Board)The CDETB is the single grant awarding authority in Ireland, of which SUSI is the dedicated awarding unit.
Central Applications Office (CAO)See ‘CAO’ above.
Change in CircumstancesA permanent Change in Circumstances, which occurs as and from 1st January following the 'reference year', and which causes a reduction in an applicant’s household income, can be used to reassess an application on the entirety of the current household income with a view to awarding a more favourable rate of grant to the applicant.
ClassRefers toApplicant Class (see above).
CCNSee Course Change Notification
Course Change Notification FormAn CCN form must be completed online by all non-CAO-entry students, which will identify the applicant’s chosen college and course or any change to course on original application form.
Credit UnionsMaintenance Grant payments, paid straight into applicants' accounts, can be made only to a defined list of Credit Union branches. Click here for a list of Credit Unions branches referred to.
DARE (Disability Access Route to Education)DARE is a college and university admissions scheme which offers places on reduced points to school leavers with disabilities. For further information, see
Data SharingThe facility of having direct access to relevant personal data held by other government agencies, i.e. Department of Social Protection, Revenue Commissions, etc.
Declaration FormA statement/form required to be signed by the applicant, and parent(s)/legal guardian, spouse, civil partner or cohabitant named on the application form, as applicable, declaring that all information and documentation furnished is complete and accurate.
Department of Justice (DJ)See ‘DJ’ below.
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DEPER)See ‘DEPER’ below.
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DSP)See ‘DEASP’ below.
Dependent ChildrenThe number of other children in the household dependent on the applicant and/or their parent(s)/legal guardian, spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, as applicable.
Dependent StudentWith regard to ‘Applicant Class’, a student who was aged under 23 years on 1st of January of the year of their first point of entry to an approved course, who is ‘dependent’ upon their parent(s)/legal guardian. See also ‘Mature Dependent Student’ below.
Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)See ‘DARE’ above.
Disposal of Assets and Rights TableTable illustrating breakdown of asset disposal (whether gain made or loss incurred).
DJ (Department of Justice )For grant eligibility purposes, specifically in relation to nationality, see
Documentary EvidenceDocuments that may be requested to substantiate certain information provided in the application form.
DPER (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform)See
DEASP (Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection)See
EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer)EFT is the method by which maintenance grant payments are paid directly into applicants’ bank/credit union accounts.
Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT)See ‘EFT’ above.
Eligible Payments for Special RateIf an applicant, or their parent(s)/guardian, spouse or civil partner, where applicable, is in receipt of an ‘Eligible Payment’, they may be eligible for ‘Special Rate’ of grant if their reckonable income falls within the relevant income threshold. Click here for a list of ‘eligible payments’.
Eligibility CriteriaA set of requirements that must be met for an applicant to be considered eligible for grant funding.
Equivalent Period of StudyIf a student has previously attended but not completed a course of study, they will be required to complete an equivalent period of study at a prescribed level before being considered eligible to be considered for grant funding.
Erasmus Year Erasmus stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students and is an EU student exchange programme.
EstrangementWhere an applicant, who would be deemed ‘dependent’, i.e. aged under 23 on 1st January of the year on first entry to an approved course, is alienated from their parent(s)/legal guardian.
EU Member States/EEA/Switzerland (European Union Member States/European Economic Area)An applicant must be an EU Member, EEA or Swiss national, or be resident in Ireland under a specific leave to remain, to be deemed eligible for grant funding.
Exceptional CircumstancesIn relation to progression, reasons why an applicant may not be required to complete an equivalent period of study, eg. having had to drop out of a course due to proven medical circumstances.
Exceptional Needs PaymentA single payment from The Department of Social Protection, under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme, to help meet essential, once-off expenditure, eg. funeral expenses. Such payments are disregarded when calculating an applicant's reckonable income.
Family Income Supplement (FIS)Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to people on low pay. FIS is an eligible payment for Special Rate.
Final Course Acceptance (FCA)See FCA (Final Course Acceptance)
Farm AssistFarm Assist is an ‘Eligible Payment’ for the ‘Special Rate’ of Maintenance Grant.
FCA (Final Course Acceptance)An FCA form must be completed online by all non-CAO-entry students, which will identify the applicant’s chosen college and course.
Fee GrantThe Fee Grant is made up of three elements:
a) Tuition fee element – grant which covers the tuition fees applicable to applicant’s course when fees are not met under the Free Fees Initiative (FFU)
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 which forms part of an applicant’s course.
FFI (Free Fees Initiative)Cost of an applicant's tuition fees which are paid by the Department of Education & Skills where the applicant meets certain residency, nationality and eligible course criteria.
Field Trip (Compulsory)Some students may, as part of their course of study, be required to partake in a ‘Compulsory Field Trip’ and the cost, or part thereof, of attending may be covered in the ‘Field Trip’ element of the Fee Grant, if applicable. Click here for further information.
Final Course Acceptance (FCA)See FCA (Final Course Acceptance).
Financial AssistanceA student is deemed not eligible for grant funding if they are in receipt of a grant, scholarship, prize, allowance, bursary or award, except for notable exceptions, from public funds in the State, or any Member State, in respect of the approved course being undertaken.
First point of entryFor grant eligibility purposes, the date upon which an applicant first attends any Further or Higher Education course. This term is used when determining what ‘class’ an applicant is deemed, i.e. Dependent or Independent.
Free Fees Initiative (FFI)See ‘FFI’ above.
General Register Office (GRO)See ‘GRO’ below.
Gifts and Inheritances TableTable illustrating a gain made from gift or inheritance between relevant persons.
GRO (General Register Office)The central national repository for records relating to births, marriages, deaths, etc.
Gross IncomeIncome before any deductions are made for PAYE, income tax and other taxes, PRSI, income levies, etc. , and also includes income that is described as ‘tax-free’, ‘tax-paid’, ‘not liable to tax’ or ‘exempt from tax’.
HEAR (Higher Education Access Route)A college and university admissions scheme which offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For further information, see
HEA (Higher Education Authority)The authority within Ireland with responsibility for the funding of universities, institutions of technology and other third level colleges. See
Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)See ‘HEAR’ above.
Higher Education Authority (HEA)See ‘HEA’ above.
Holiday EarningsIn calculating ‘reckonable income’, a student who has been in full-time education during the reference period but who has been in part-time employment may have a proportion of their earnings, i.e. ‘holiday earnings’, deducted from their income if it makes a positive difference to any rate of grant awarded.
Income DeductionsIf an applicant meets the qualifying criteria and is close to the reckonable income limit to be eligible for the Special Rate of Maintenance Grant, deductions of the ‘Child Dependent Increase (CDI)’ and/or the applicant’s ‘Holiday Earnings’ (up to a maximum of €4,500) can be made. Click here for section on Income Income
Income Disregards For the purposes of calculating ‘Reckonable Income’ a number of payments are not included. See here for Section on Income Income
Income Levels/TableThe set thresholds of ‘Reckonable Income’ which determine the rate of grant to be awarded. Click here for section on Income Income
Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)See ‘IQA’ below.
IQA (Increase for a Qualified Adult)IQA is an increase in Social Welfare payments per dependent adult within a family unit. See further information at
Independent StudentGenerally, a student who was aged over 23 years on 1st January of the year they first entered an approved course and who did not ordinarily reside with their parent(s)/legal guardian from the October prior to that year. This student will be assessed on their own income and that of their spouse/civil partner/cohabitant, whichever is applicable. See ‘Applicant Class’ above
Legal Guardian(s)For grant assessing purposes, a person or persons deemed to take the place of a parent(s) and, in the case of a Dependent or Mature Dependent Applicant, whose income will be taken into account.
LegislationEligibility 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 . Click here to view legislation
Lump SumIn calculating reckonable income, a proportion of any lump sum payments received in the reference year, eg. from retirement or redundancy, is taken into account, i.e. the lump sum amount divided by the number of years service.
Maintenance GrantGrant funding, paid in 9 monthly instalments, towards a student’s living costs which is awarded at standard rate (100%, 75%, 50% or 25%) or Special Rate, depending on the level of reckonable income. Click here for further information on Grant Levels. Student Grant Levels
Mature Dependent StudentA student who was aged over 23 years on 1st January in the year they first entered or re-entered an approved course and who was residing with their parent(s)/legal guardian in the October prior to that year.
Maximum Period of Funding/Grant AssistanceThere is a cap on the amount of funding/assistant an applicant can receive while progressing in their education. Click here Maximum Periods of Study for further information on the maximum periods of funding allowed.
National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)See ‘NFQ’ below.
NationalityFor grant awarding purposes, one of the main eligibility criteria. Click here Nationality criteria for further information on ‘Nationality’ requirements.
NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications)See
Non-recurring IncomeAny Income (e.g. overtime) which you may have earned in the reference period which may not be recurring. (i.e not recurring in current year). A deduction may be possible from your reckonable income if safisfactory evidence of this can be provided.
Normal ResidenceThe address at which an applicant is usually resident, i.e. outside term time. This is the address used in deducing whether an ‘Adjacent’ or ‘Non-adjacent’ rate of maintenance grant is to be awarded. See ‘Adjacent/Non-Adjacent Rate’ above.
Ombudsman, Office of theIndependent body who examines complaints, in a fair and impartial way, from people who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public bodies, eg. government departments, local authorities, publicly funded third level education bodies, etc.
OverpaymentsWhere any grant overpayment occurs, SUSI must seek repayment from the student and/or the relevant institution.
Payment/Payment ScheduleA list of Maintenance Payment dates for eligible PLC and Undergraduate students. Click here to view the section on Payments.
PlacementA 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, where applicable, except in cases of students pursuing accelerated programmes.
PLC (Post Leaving Certificate)PLC refers to ‘Further Education’. For grant purposes, approved PLC courses are at Levels 5 and 6. Approved PLC centres within the Irish State are set out in the Student Grant Scheme and the approved courses therein are determined by SOLAS. Click here PLC Students – Approved Institutions/Courses for a full list of approved PLC courses.
Post Leaving Certificate (PLC)See ‘PLC’ above.
Postgraduate Fee ContributionGrant contribution towards applicant pursuing a postgraduate course of study (max €3,500 normal rate; max €6,270 special rate)
Prior period of studyPeriod of time spent on a previous course of study in further or higher education. This may be relevant should a ‘Relevant Period of Study’ be required before an applicant is eligible for grant assistance.
Prize FundsA student is deemed not eligible for grant funding if they are in receipt of a prize funds, apart from notable exceptions, from public funds in the State, or any Member State, in respect of the approved course being attended. See ‘Financial Assistance’ above.
ProgressionThe process by which a student moves from year to year of a course following successful completion of the previous year of that course, or moves from one course to another where the award achievable on the new course is at a higher level than any previously attained. For grant awarding purposes, one of the main eligibility criteria. Click here Previous Education and Progression for further information on ‘Progression’.
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)See ‘QQI’ below.
QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland)See
Reckonable IncomeFor grant assessing purposes, the proportion of the gross income considered, after allowable deductions and disregards are taken into account, to determine what level of grant funding to award, if any.
ReclassificationWhere an applicant’s class (Dependent/Independent) can be redefined, eg. if moving between further and higher education or a break in studies of at least three years.
If a student has previously attended a Further or Higher Education course and subsequently has a break in studies of at least 3 years, they will be deemed a ‘Re-entry’ student and their applicant class can be redefined.
Reference Year/PeriodThe period within which reckonable income is determined for an academic year is 1st January to 31st December of the year prior to that during which the academic year commences, i.e. reference year/period for 2018/19 academic year is 2017.
RegistrationAction required to be undertaken by each applicant where they formally register with their college, on foot of which, confirmation of registration is required from those colleges before grant payments can be made.
Relevant PersonAnother person (dependent child, applicant’s parent(s)/legal guardian, independent applicant’s spouse, civil partner or cohabitant) within the household who is attending a full-time course of study in further or higher education. Each such person will be taken into account by way of an additional increment to income limits when calculating ‘Reckonable Income’. Click herePLC Income Threshold Tables and Grant Award Rates, Undergraduate Income Thresholds and Grant Award Rates, Postgraduate Income Thresholds and Grant Award Rates for further information on income limits and increments.
Renewal Applicant/ApplicationWhere an applicant, who is currently in receipt of grant funding from SUSI, is continuing and progressing on the same course in the same institution, assuming they have not yet reached the maximum period of funding. Click here Renewal Applications for further information on Renewal Applicants/Applications.
Rental IncomeFor grant assessing purposes, income gained from the letting of property/land, within the State and abroad which, after adjustments are made, is used as part reckonable income. Any losses incurred can only be offset against gains in other such rental income accounts.
Repeat period of studyPeriod of study which may require to be undertaken by a student who had previously attended a course at a certain level and withdrew, prior to that course finishing, and now intends to pursue a new course at the same level.
ResidencyFor grant awarding purposes, one of the main eligibility criteria whereby you must have been ordinarily resident in the Irish State, another EU or EEA Member State, the UK or Switzerland for 3 of the 5 years prior to the commencement of an applicant’s course. Click here Residency Criteria for further information on ‘Residency’ requirements.
ScholarshipA student is deemed not eligible for grant funding if they are in receipt of a scholarship, apart from a notable exceptions, from public funds in the State, or any Member State, in respect of the approved course being attended. See ‘Financial Assistance’ above.
Second Chance StudentA student pursuing an approved course following a break in studies of at least five years, where the student previously attended but did not successfully complete a course and is returning to purse an approved course in the current academic year and, in such circumstances, is not required to undertake a repeat period of study.
SGAB (Student Grants Appeals Board)The SGAB reviews appeals from applicants, under the Student Grant Scheme for the relevant year, in relation to the decision on their grant application. See relevant section at for further information.
SOLASDefinition – An tSeirbhs Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna. The new (as at October 2013) Further Education and Training Authority (formerly FAS) responsible for funding, planning and co-ordinating training and further education programmes. Copy and paste the following link into your browser for further information -
Special RateRate of grant available if total reckonable income is below a specified threshold (currently €24,500) and includes a qualifying long term Social Welfare payment as at 31st December of the previous year.
Student ContributionThe portion of course fees which must be met by the student themselves (currently €3000 ) for which SUSI may (if the student meet the eligibility criteria) award a grant.
Student Grants Appeals Board (SGAB) See ‘SGAB’ above.See ‘SGAB’ above.
Student Grant Scheme The legislation upon which the assessment and awarding of student grants is based. The Student Grant Scheme is updated annually.
Student Support Act 2011The legislation upon which the assessment and awarding of student grants is based.
Student Support Regulations The legislation upon which the assessment and awarding of student grants is based. The Student Support Regulations are updated annually.
Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)See ‘SUSI’ below.
Study AbroadWhere a student is required to undertake a period of study abroad, up to a period of one year, as an integral part of their course of study. In such cases, students eligible for a Maintenance Grant may continue to receive their payments in the usual manner.
SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland)SUSI was established in 2012 as the single awarding authority of new grants within the Irish State (replacing 66 previous grant awarding bodies). See
Tuition StudentAny student that has been resident outside of Ireland but within the EU/EEA, the UK or Switzerland for 3 of the last 5 years. A "tuition student" is eligible for a Fee grant only and is not eligible for any form of Maintenance grant.
UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)UCAS is the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses throughout the UK. See for further information.
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)See ‘UCAS’ above.
Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)See ‘VTOS’ below.
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.
Woodlands TableTable illustrating income gained from woodlands. Click to view the relevant table.