The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA)
on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
The Student Assistance Fund is now open for the 2020-2021 academic year.
You can start the process of applying for the SAF now by going to Student Budgeting Advice Service and clicking on "Book an Appointment".
The Student Assistance Fund (SAF)
What is the Student Assistance Fund?
The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is one of a number of sources of funding available to students while studying at Maynooth University, designed to help students meet some of the extra costs associated with being at university.
The purpose of the SAF is:
- to support students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are under-represented in higher education and who have temporary or ongoing needs for financial support;
- to provide emergency financial assistance for other students experiencing exceptional financial difficulties.
- books and class materials,
- rent, heating, lighting, and other utility bills (including mobile phone data plans that you may require to participate and continue in university),
- essential travel,
- medical costs,
- family difficulties e.g. bereavement.
- Covid-19 has had a major impact on the financial situation of students and their families. Therefore the SAF may be used to support students who find themselves in need of financial support due to Covid-19, provided that such support aligns with the overall purpose of the SAF and the eligible costs identified above.
This list of costs is not exhaustive. However, tuition fees, registration fees, student loan repayments or any costs borne by your college are not covered by the Student Assistance Fund.
Who Can and Cannot Apply to the SAF?
You are eligible to apply to the Student Assistance Fund if …
You are in significant financial difficulty.
Significant financial difficulty just means that you are finding it hard to cover your additional costs while at college and that it’s significantly affecting you. You can apply to the SAF even if you are on a SUSI grant. You can apply to the SAF even if you have already received funding from the SAF this year or in a previous year. You can apply to the SAF even if you have received HEAR funding from the SAF this year or in a previous year.
You belong to one of the student categories below:
- A full-time student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick's College Maynooth, registered for a course of not less than one year’s duration that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications.
- A part-time student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick’s College Maynooth registered for a course of not less than one year’s duration that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications. Part-time students who are lone parents or members of other target groups as identified in the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education are particularly encouraged to apply.
- A post-graduate student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick's College Maynooth registered for a course of not less than one year’s duration that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications. Since 2019, additional funding support from the Student Assistance Fund has also been made available to students studying for a Professional Master of Education (Primary) or a Professional Master of Education (Secondary), for example to help towards the cost of spending time in the Gaeltacht.
- An internal repeat student from the above specified categories.
- A student who is a non-EU national, but who is eligible for free or reduced fees in line with the criteria for the Free Fees Initiative, may be considered for SAF subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria.
- A student on a Springboard+ course, or on a blended/distance learning course of not less than one year’s duration, that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications. This year the Springboard+ courses at Maynooth University are the H. Dip. In Science (Software Development) and the H. Dip in Data Analytics.
- A Ph.D student (Ph.D students in yrs 1-4 are eligible; Ph.D students in year 5 or higher will be considered on a case by case basis).
- Students who entered Maynooth University through the HEAR route.
- Students with a previous higher education qualification at the same NFQ level, or who, in the past, attended higher education without ultimately obtaining a qualification, will be considered on a case-by-case basis and subject to available funding.
You are in receipt of a Student Grant (includes part payment of the Student Contribution Charge)
- OR -
If not on a SUSI grant, your household income falls within one of the income thresholds below applied by Maynooth University for 2020/21*
|Dependent children (including yourself) in family||Income Limit|
|0 - 3 dependents||€63,732|
|4 - 7 dependents||€70,024|
|8 or more dependents||€76,022|
|* NB. Income thresholds for the SAF at Maynooth University are based on the income bands for the SUSI maintenance grant. For the SAF, Maynooth University sets the income thresholds 17.5% above the SUSI income bands to facilitate those students who may have just missed out on getting a grant.|
Who cannot apply?
You are not eligible for the SAF if you are:
- Studying a course which does not lead to an undergraduate qualification at Level 6 or above.
- Studying a course of less than 1 year’s duration.
- Studying pure Divinity at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth.
- Repeating externally.
- An international student attending Maynooth University or St. Patrick’s College Maynooth. (You are advised to contact the International Office if in need of financial support.)
- Studying at Maynooth University on Erasmus from another University or Institution. You are advised to contact your home university if in need of financial support.
- Students on the Certificate in Return to Learning Course Level 5.
- Above the income limits set out above.
If you fall into any of these categories there may be other funds that can help so you should contact the Student Budgeting Advisor at email@example.com.
When to Apply and How often can you apply?
You can apply at any time during the academic year and as many times as you need to until such time as the fund is depleted. Once the fund is depleted there will be no more disbursements regardless of eligibility. Remember that you can apply to the SAF as many times per year as you need. For your first application you must complete the online form when you Book an Appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor, but second or subsequent applications are quicker and can be started with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with an update of your circumstances.
How to apply to the SAF?
The steps below describe each stage of the application process.
Step 1 Book an Appointment with the SBA.
Click on the above link to fill in an online form with your budgeting and household information, then select an appointment time for a consultation with the Student Budgeting Advisor (SBA).
Due to Covid-19, all consultations will be held online/by phone this year. The Student Budgeting Advisor will ring you at your consultation time so be sure to be available and have your phone switched on for the date and time of your appointment slot. Appointments are booked up early and are highly sought after. Students on Erasmus, or students on a year abroad as part of an International Degree, or students on placement can book an appointment at the link above in the same way – be sure to let the SBA know that you are on Erasmus/Study Abroad/Placement and what your time zone is, if relevant.
The Student Budgeting Advisor will review your budgeting and household information and will decide what fund/s you should apply for. You may be referred to more than one fund. If you are recommended to apply to the SAF, you will be guided through the following stages, Steps 2-4. If the Student Budgeting Advisor does not recommend you to the SAF, you can still apply independently. Should this happen, you can indicate to the Student Budgeting Advisor that you wish to apply independently and this will be facilitated but the lack of a recommendation will be taken into account.
Step 2 Complete the SAF application form.
Step 3 Gather & Upload your Supporting Documents
The Student Budgeting Advisor will recommend an amount of funding based on the information you have given so far. You will be informed by email and you will be asked to upload some supporting documentation via a secure link. It can take some time to gather these documents so you should start working on this as soon as you’ve had your consultation.
You can use the MU SAF Documents Checklist 2020-2021 in advance to find out what documents you will need to provide. Review these sample documents to ensure you are providing the correct documentation: Sample Social Welfare Balancing Statement, Sample P21 Statement of Liability, Sample Notice of Self Assessment)
|How do I create scans/electronic copies of my paper documents?
If you have paper documents, you will need to create scanned electronic copies of them to upload online. There are a number of ways to create a scanned electronic copy of your document:
Use your smartphone camera:
Use a printer/scanner:
If you are still having difficulty creating an electronic version of your documents, contact email@example.com.
Note: Please be assured that your documentation will be uploaded onto a secure server and data protection rules are strictly observed concerning your confidential information. Read more about SAF Confidentiality and the sharing of your data.
Step 4 Register your Bank Details with the University
You will be asked to register your bank details with the University. This is because funds awarded from the SAF are paid directly into your bank account. You should register your bank details as soon as you know you are recommended for SAF to avoid a long delay in payment or missing your payment completely.
You will be given a secure link to register your bank details online with the University. This is the only means by which you register your bank account details with the University. The Access Office will never contact you directly for these details.
What happens next?
- You may be contacted for further information so keep an eye on your university email address for emails from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A sub-committee of the Student Financial Support Services Committee, the SAF sub-committee, will make the final decision as to your eligibility and award. Please note that the amount for which you were recommended by the Student Budgeting Advisor may not be the amount for which you are approved. The amount can be reduced by the SAF sub-committee or, sometimes, increased.
- An email with the outcome will be sent to your official @mumail.ie or @spcm.ie email address. If approved for funding, payment will be made by electronic funds transfer into your own bank account. You should ensure that you register your bank details with the University as soon as you know that you are recommended for SAF to avoid any delays.
- You can appeal the outcome. Students may appeal the decision of the SAF Committee or the amount awarded. Requests for an appeal must be made in the form of a letter or email to the Director of Access within 10 working days of the original decision being communicated to you. Email email@example.com and cc firstname.lastname@example.org.
Confidentiality and Sharing of your Data
Maynooth University treats all data provided in making an SAF application in a sensitive and confidential manner. The data will be stored, secured and remain strictly private and confidential in accordance with the University Data Protection policy. Read more information on confidentiality and how your data is stored and shared as part of your SAF application.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the SAF
Review the SAF FAQ's to find more information about your eligibility, making an application, the outcome and appeals.
For more information on the SAF, you can view the Student-Friendly SAF 2020-21 Guidelines and the Higher Education Authority's SAF page on studentfinance.ie.
The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.