The Student Assistance Fund will open in October for the academic year 2022-23 – date TBC

 

 

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is one of a number of sources of funding available to students while studying at Maynooth University. It is ​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; and to provide emergency financial assistance for other students experiencing exceptional financial difficulties.

If you have concerns about funding your college costs you may be eligible to apply to the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). Find out more below. 
 

SAF Poster 2021-2022

If you have any queries, you can contact the Student Budgeting Advisor at student.budget@mu.ie or the SAF team at saf@mu.ie.

 

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF)

 

What are the basic eligibility requirements for SAF?

Which SAF fund should I apply to?

SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND

SAF MEANS TESTED FUND

SAF EXCEPTIONAL FUND

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the SAF

 
 

 

What are the basic eligibility requirements for SAF?

Who can apply to the Student Assistance Fund?

You must be one of the following:

  • A full-time OR part-time undergraduate student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick's Pontifical University 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 post-graduate student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick's Pontifical University 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. This includes students studying for a Professional Master of Education (Primary) or a Professional Master of Education (Secondary).
  • A repeating student from the above specified categories.
  • A student who is Irish, EU, EEA, Swiss or UK and 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 PhD student (PhD students in years 1-4 are eligible; PhD students in year 5 or higher will be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • A student who entered Maynooth University through the HEAR entry 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, subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria.
  • Persons qualified for protection under Section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015 (including Ukrainian students who are currently registered as Higher Education Students, on approved courses or authorised transition arrangements in approved publicly funded institutions in Ireland). To qualify, the student must have been granted permission to reside in the State by the Minister for Justice pursuant to section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015).The student must be present, and residing at an address in the State, and attending, or intending to pursue, an approved course in the 2022-23 academic year.
  • Irish Nationals who were attending a Higher Education Institution in Ukraine during the 2021/2022 academic year; and have now returned to Ireland due to the conflict, are now residing at an address in the State and enrolled on an authorised transition programme during 2022/2023.

Who cannot apply to the SAF?

  • Incoming Erasmus students. Erasmus students are advised to contact their home university.
  • International students. Emergency funding may be possible in exceptional circumstances only. Incoming international students are advised to contact the International Office and/or the Student Budgeting Advice service.
  • Students who have completed an undergraduate degree Masters programme or PhD and are undertaking a second qualification at the same level. However, in exceptional circumstances students will be considered.
  • PhD students who are over 4 years with Maynooth University will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Students of Divinity at St. Patrick’s Pontifical University Maynooth should contact fees@spcm.ie.
 


 

Which SAF fund should I apply to?

There are 3 SAF Funds. The SAF Fund you may apply to depends on your course year, entry route, course level and any previous SAF funding received. Check this list for details that apply to you:

 


 

SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND

Students from groups which are underrepresented in higher education are prioritised for funding support. Your eligibility for this fund will be confirmed by the Student Assistance Fund team at Maynooth University Access Programme (MAP). You will only be eligible to apply to this Fund once in your academic career.

The following target group students are eligible to apply for the SAF HEAR/Access fund and will get the following awards:

  • HEAR entry students in 1st year of an undergraduate course who have attended Launchpad orientation for access students (€1,000, paid as €500 in Semester 1 and €500 in Semester 2).
  • Turn to Teaching entry students progressing to 1st year of an undergraduate or PME course who have attended Launchpad orientation for access students (€1,000, paid as €500 in Semester 1 and €500 in Semester 2).
  • Repeating students in the above categories with exceptional circumstances for repeating (€500 paid in Semester 1).
  • For 2022/23 only: HEAR entry students in 3rd year or 4th year of an undergraduate course (for the first time) who had more than 4 HEAR indicators and who attended Launchpad orientation on entry to university (€500 paid in Semester 1). 

Eligible for this fund? All HEAR and progressed Turn To Teaching entry students will be contacted by the Student Assistance Fund team in October to inform them of their eligibility status for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund. If you are confirmed to be eligible for this Fund, you will be invited to complete a short application form. If not eligible for this fund you will be given information on other funds.
 
What happens after I apply to the SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND and how much will I get if approved?

  1. You will be confirmed for eligibility for this fund and your university registration.
  2. If all is in order, your application will be progressed to the Student Assistance Fund committee for approval, and you will be notified of when the payment will reach your account.
  3. There are set awards for this Fund: students eligible for the payment of €1,000 will receive €500 in Semester 1 (mid Nov) and €500 in Semester 2 (mid Feb); students eligible for the payment of €500 will be paid in Semester 1 (mid Nov).
  4. You can contact saf@mu.ie or your MAP Advisor if you are having difficulty completing the application form. If you do not submit your application within the deadlines or do not contact the Student Assistance Fund team about your application, you will receive a reminder email after 2 weeks. If you do not progress your application, it will be closed after 4 weeks.

Additional information relevant to SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND applicants:

  • Already applied to this fund this year/already been paid from this fund this year, but now need more financial aid? You are not eligible for the SAF Means Tested Fund this year. Check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund. You can apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund in a year that you are not eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund.
  • ​​Already been paid from this fund in a previous academic career, but now need more financial aid? Check your eligibility for the SAF Means Tested Fund and/or the SAF Exceptional Fund.
  • Need more or other advice/guidance? You can avail of the Student Budgeting Advice Service for advice on finances, welfare, SUSI and funding guidance. You can also contact the Student Assistance Fund team at saf@mu.ie .
  • Received the email confirming you as eligible for the HEAR/Access Fund but haven’t applied yet/ can’t find the email? Contact saf@mu.ie.
  • Haven’t received an email from the Student Assistance Fund team yet but think you might be eligible for this Fund? If you think you might be eligible (e.g. you were a late HEAR entrant to university/got an offer after Round 2/were a deferral from last year) but have not received an email by late October, check your spam/junk folder in your official @mumail.ie inbox for the email, then contact saf@mu.ie

 

 


 

SAF MEANS TESTED FUND

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you can apply for the SAF Means Tested Fund once in each academic year and on approval, you receive a set award of €500.

Who can apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund?
The following criteria determine your eligibility to apply for the SAF Means Tested Fund:

If your application to this Fund is approved, you will receive €500. You can only apply to this fund once per academic year.

You must provide evidence that your family income is under the Means Tested income threshold of €40,875. Students who are not in receipt of SUSI can do this by providing evidence that their gross family income was under €40,875 in 2021. See the SAF Means Tested Supporting Documents Checklist.

Students who are in receipt of SUSI can show that they are under the income threshold if they are in receipt of one of these levels of SUSI award in the current academic year:

Levels of SUSI Award

Undergrad SUSI Award 2022/233 showing Gross Income <€40,875 in 2021 Postgrad SUSI Award 2022/23 showing Gross Income <€40,875 in 2021
Special Rate Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€2575 per year paid as €286 per month
Postgrad Special Rate Adjacent:
€2575 per year paid as €286 per month
Special Rate Non-Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€6115 per year paid as €679 per month
Postgrad Special Rate Non-Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€6115 per year paid as €679 per month
Band 1 (Full Maintenance) Adjacent including Student Contribution paid –
€1415 per year paid as €157 per month
Postgraduate Fee Contribution of €3500 only where household income is under €40,875
(Note: to get this award from SUSI the household income can be higher than €40,875)
Band 1 (Full Maintenance) Non-Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€3225 per year paid as €358 per month
 

 

If you are on a different level of SUSI award, see Additional information relevant to SAF Means Tested Fund applicants below. Find all 3 pages of your SUSI letter in the correspondence section of your online SUSI account.

Making an application to the SAF MEANS TESTED Fund

Complete the SAF Means Tested Fund Application Form.

This fund opens in October and remains open until the end of April or until all funds are disbursed.
 

What happens after I apply and how much will I get if I am approved?

  1. You will receive a confirmation email to your official university address.

  2. Your application will then be verified for eligibility, and you will be sent an email asking you to upload any required documents– see the SAF Means Tested Supporting Documents Checklist.

  3. If your documents are correct, your application will be progressed to the Student Assistance Fund committee for approval, and you will be notified of the outcome.

  4. If your documents are not correct, you will be contacted by email and advised on what to do next.

  5. There is a set award of €500 if approved for the SAF Means Tested Fund.

  6. You can contact saf@mu.ie if you are having difficulty getting the required supporting documents. If you do not upload complete and correct documents or do not contact the Student Assistance Fund team about your application, you will receive a reminder email after 2 weeks. If you do not complete your application, it will be closed after 4 weeks. This does not prevent you applying to the SAF again.

Additional information relevant to SAF Means Tested Fund applicants:

  • In receipt of SUSI but have a different level of award than in the table above?  This means that you are above the income threshold for the SAF Means Tested Fund. If you are eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund, you should complete your application when prompted. You can also check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.

  • Eligible for the SAF HEAR /Access Fund this year? You should complete your application for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund when prompted. You can also check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.

  • How often can I apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund?  You can only apply once in each academic year to the Means Tested Fund. Check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.

  • Need more advice/guidance about your finances? You can avail of the Student Budgeting Advice Service for advice on finances, welfare, SUSI and funding guidance.

  • Have applied but have not received a confirmation email from the Student Assistance Fund team? Check your spam/junk folder in your official @mumail.ie inbox for the email, then contact saf@mu.ie

 

 


 

SAF EXCEPTIONAL FUND

If you are experiencing exceptional financial difficulties, you can apply for the SAF Exceptional Fund. You can apply more than once in each academic year. If approved, there is no set award from this Fund. The award is based on individual circumstances and on a review of your application and supporting documents. 

Who can apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund?
The following criteria determine your eligibility to apply for the SAF Exceptional Fund: 

NB. Students who have applied to the SAF Means Tested Fund can also apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund if they have additional college-related costs.

If your application to the SAF Exceptional Fund is approved, the amount awarded is based on your individual circumstances, as assessed by the Student Budgeting Advisor and confirmed by a review of your supporting documents.

SAF Exceptional Fund Thresholds

You must provide evidence that your gross family income in 2021 was under one of the following thresholds:
 

Number of Dependents
in the family home:
MU SAF Exceptional income limits
(SUSI upper limits +17.5%)
0-3 Dependents in the family home €64,907
4-7 dependents in the family home €71,199
8 or more dependents in the family home €77,197
If there are additional person/s in college in your household you should add this amount per additional person to the relevant income threshold to get the actual income threshold you have to be under e.g. you have 2 siblings in college, add €11,632 to the relevant threshold. €5,816

Note: where there has been a change of circumstances in the family income since 2021 which impacts your ability to meet the income threshold, speak to the Student Budgeting Advisor about this at your consultation.
 

Providing Evidence of Family Income
Students on SUSI:

Provide their SUSI award letter for 2022/23. (Note: If you are in receipt of a SUSI award, check the ‘reckonable income’ on page 3. This is the gross family income for 2021. Find all 3 pages of your SUSI letter in the correspondence section of your online SUSI account.

Students who are not on SUSI:

Students who are not on SUSI must provide evidence that the gross family income was under the relevant SAF Exceptional threshold in 2021. See the SAF Exceptional Fund Supporting Documents Checklist.

 

Making an application to the SAF EXCEPTIONAL FUND

Complete the SAF Exceptional Fund Application Form.

This fund opens in October and remains open until the end of April or until all funds are disbursed.

What happens after I apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund and how much will I get if approved?

  1. You complete a booking form for the Student Budgeting Advisor (SBA).
  2. You receive a confirmation email to your official university email address, and you select a time to meet with the SBA (online or in person).
  3. Following your meeting with the SBA you may be recommended for support from the SAF Exceptional Fund and/or for other funding options and you will be invited to complete an application form for the SAF Exceptional Fund and/or other fund.
  4. Your application to the SAF Exceptional Fund will be verified for eligibility, and you will be sent an email asking you to upload supporting documents– see the SAF Exceptional Fund Supporting Documents Checklist.
  5. If your documents are correct, your application will be progressed to the Student Assistance Fund committee for approval, and you will be notified of the outcome.
  6. If your documents are not correct, you will be contacted by email and advised on what to do next.
  7. There is no set award from SAF Exceptional Fund. If approved, the award is based on the circumstances of the individual. The SBA will make a recommendation of an amount and the SAF committee will make the final decision based on all the information submitted in the application.
  8. You can contact saf@mu.ie if you are having difficulty with providing the required supporting documents. If you do not upload complete and correct supporting documents or do not contact the Student Assistance Fund team about your application, you will receive a reminder email after 2 weeks. If you do not complete your application, it will be closed after 4 weeks. This does not prevent you applying to the fund again.

You can apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund more than once per academic year. 

 

 

 

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 SAF Guidelines Flyer and the Higher Education Authority's SAF page on studentfinance.ie.

 

Government of Ireland and HEA logos

      
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.