Government of Ireland and HEA logos 2020

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.

SAF FAQ's

Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). If your question is not listed below please email saf@mu.ie.

SAF APPLICATION
SAF ELIGIBILITY
SAF RE-APPLICATION
SAF OUTCOME AND PAYMENT
SAF APPEALS
SAF CONFIDENTIALITY AND SHARING OF YOUR DATA

 

SAF APPLICATION

I cannot get an appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor. What should I do?
Appointments can be booked up weeks in advance at certain busy times of year. However new appointment slots are added/freed up daily so keep checking to see if a slot opens. If you find yourself in an emergency situation you can email student.budget@mu.ie once you have completed the booking form and given an outline of your circumstances.

Remember: if you are making a second or subsequent application to the SBAS/SAF you can do this by emailing student.budget@mu.ie with an update on your circumstances.
 
I have applied to the Student Assistance Fund already this academic year (2020-2021). How do I apply again?
You can start a second or subsequent application to the SAF in 2020-2021 by emailing student.budget@mu.ie with an update on your circumstances.

I didn’t receive a confirmation email after completing an online application. What should I do?
You may have entered your email address incorrectly or the confirmation email  may have been misdirected to your spam folder. Check for a confirmation email from student.budget@mu.ie or saf@mu.ie in your inbox or spam folder.  If you cannot locate the confirmation email you can contact saf@mu.ie to follow up on your application.

Remember that once you have been recommended to apply to the SAF, all correspondence will be sent to your official @mumail.ie or @spcm.ie email address.

I submitted my documents online but haven’t received any follow up email. What should I do?
You will receive a confirmation email immediately upon submitting your documentation. This is an automated email which simply logs that you have uploaded documents. To find it, check the inbox and spam folders of your official @mumail.ie or @spcm.ie email address. You will also receive a follow up email from saf@mu.ie after your documents have been reviewed. You may be asked for more information or informed that your application is ready to be considered at the next SAF sub-committee meeting.

How do I get the supporting documents needed to progress my SAF application?
Please refer to How do I apply to the SAF – Step 3 Gather and Upload Your Supporting Documents.

How do I include the supporting documents in my application?
You will be asked to submit your documentation online. Please refer to How do I apply to the SAF – Step 3 Gather and Upload Your Supporting Documents.

When I check the Documents Checklist I find that I have to provide financial documentation for my parents/ guardians but I am unable to get these documents. Can I be assessed on my own income?
If you are experiencing difficulty with the documentation requirements for SAF as outlined in the MU SAF Documents Checklist 2020-2021, you should contact saf@mu.ie to discuss this confidentially. Every effort will be made to be as flexible as possible where there are exceptional circumstances leading to significant financial hardship.

When I check the Documents Checklist I find that I must submit a P21 (or Statement of Liability). Can I submit a P60 instead of a P21 (or Statement of Liability)?
In general, you must submit a P21 (or Statement of Liability). A P60 shows total earnings from one employer only and does not take account of any additional income, such as another job or a spouse’s income. A P21 gives details of total household income, tax credits, tax reliefs and PAYE tax paid for a particular tax year. In exceptional circumstances, a P60 may be accepted. For any queries please contact saf@mu.ie.
 
When I check the Documents Checklist I find that I must submit proof of household income for 2019. What if there has been a change in my/my family’s circumstances since 2019?
Where income documents are required, they must be for 2019. If there has been a significant change in income since 2019, you should provide evidence of this change (i.e. P45, payslips, or social welfare documentation) and discuss it in the meeting with the Student Budgeting Advisor who will guide you.
 
When I check the Documents Checklist, I find that I must provide proof of living independently. What if I can’t prove I’m living independently?
You should mention this in your meeting with the Student Budgeting Advisor and/or contact the Access Office at saf@mu.ie and explain your situation. Every effort will be made to assist you.
 
I have applied for SUSI but what if I’m still waiting for SUSI to deal with my application/my appeal?
You can upload your bank statements and let the Access Office know that you are waiting for an outcome from SUSI. This may however delay your application. Drop an email to saf@mu.ie and we will get back to you. Every effort will be made to assist you.
 
What if I’m running into delays in getting the required documents?
Your application cannot be progressed without the required documents so drop an email to saf@mu.ie and explain the issue. We may be able to offer advice.
 
Can I apply to the SAF at any time in the academic year?
There is currently no closing date for applying to the SAF, however, as there is a set amount of money in the Fund you should make your application as soon as possible after the start of the academic year. You can apply to the SAF more than once in the academic year. You must start the first application by completing the Student Budgeting Advisor’s Booking Form but second or subsequent applications can be started by emailing student.budget@mu.ie. As soon as the Fund has been distributed in full, no further awards can be made, regardless of eligibility.
 
I do not have a bank account, how will I be paid if my application is successful?
Payment will only be made my EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) to your bank account. If you do not have a bank account in your name, please set up a bank account immediately and register your bank details. Please see the How Do I Apply to the SAF: Step 4 Register your Bank Details section for more information. Normally student bank accounts do not incur fees.

I applied to the SAF. Can I get my confidential documents back?
You will be asked to scan and upload your supporting financial documents so this will not arise as you will have the originals. You should be careful when scanning your confidential documents and be sure not to leave soft copies on any public computers you have used for scanning.

Please see SAF Confidentiality and Sharing of your Data for our confidentiality/data protection assurance on how we handle and retain all your application information.

I’m waiting on Revenue to provide a P21(Statement of Liability)/Notice of Self-Assessment. Will this delay my application?
Your application cannot be finalised without the required documents. Applicants are strongly advised to start gathering the required supporting documentation as early as possible in the application process i.e. as soon as you have had your consultation with the Student Budgeting Advisor, or even before. You can refer to the MU SAF Documents Checklist 2020-2021 to see what documents you will need to provide. Every effort will be made to be as flexible as possible where there are exceptional circumstances around getting the required documents.

How long will the application process take?
This depends upon how quickly you can submit the required supporting documents. If you submit your documents immediately upon request, your application could be finalised within 2-3 weeks. Otherwise allow 3-6 weeks, all depending upon submission of your complete and correct supporting documents.

When does the Student Assistance Fund open/close?
The Student Assistance Fund opens as soon as possible near after the start of each academic year and remains open until available funds are exhausted or until the end of the academic year. You are advised to apply as early in the academic year as you can. You may apply as many times as you need to in each academic year. Your first application must be started by completing the Student Budgeting Advisor’s Booking Form but second or subsequent applications can be started by emailing student.budget@mu.ie and are generally processed more quickly.
As soon as the Fund has been distributed in full no further awards can be made, regardless of eligibility.

What costs are covered by the Student Assistance Fund?
The SAF is designed to help meet the additional costs of attending college: books and class materials that are required to enable students to  continue and participate in teaching and learning and/or complete examinations; rent, heat and lighting bills and other utility bills e.g. mobile phone data plans, that are required to enable students to continue and participate in teaching and learning and/or complete examinations;  food, essential travel, childcare, medical costs. This list is not exhaustive. Students on a Postgraduate Masters of Education course can apply for assistance with costs incurred as a result of mandatory school placement or for fees for mandatory Gaeltacht courses.
University tuition fees, registration fees, student loan repayments or any costs borne by your college are not covered by the Student Assistance Fund.

 

 

SAF ELIGIBILITY

My financial situation/my family’s financial situation has been affected by Covid-19. Can I apply to the SAF?
Yes, provided you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply to the SAF. Please refer to Who can and cannot Apply to the SAF? for more information on eligibility. 
 
I entered Maynooth University as a HEAR eligible student. I have been advised that I will receive HEAR funding from the SAF. What is this? Can I also apply to the SAF?
First year students who entered Maynooth University through the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and continuing HEAR students who meet 5 or more HEAR eligibility indicators and who are fully registered, are prioritised for the SAF and receive HEAR funding support from the SAF. The Access Office will contact you directly about this funding after the beginning of the academic year. Even if you receive this funding you can still apply to the SAF directly. Book an Appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor, if you are still experiencing financial difficulty.
 
I am a HEAR student and am not receiving any HEAR funding from the SAF this year. Can I apply to the SAF?
Yes, you can apply to the SAF directly. Book an appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor.

I am a HEAR student and I am receiving HEAR funding from the SAF this year. Can I apply for further support from the SAF?
Yes, you can apply to the Student Assistance Fund directly. Book an appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor even if you have already received HEAR funding from the SAF. 

I am repeating a year of college and am registered on an approved course. Can I apply to the SAF?
Yes, being a repeat student (registered) does not exclude you from making an application to the fund, however please note that the fund cannot be used to pay for tuition fees.

I am registered on an approved course and am receiving additional support under the Fund for Students with Disabilities. Am I eligible to apply to the SAF?
Yes, you are eligible to apply.

I am an Irish student enrolling in a higher education institution outside the Republic of Ireland. Am I eligible to apply to the SAF?
No, the fund is available only through Irish publicly-funded colleges. However, if you are a registered Maynooth University student on Erasmus or studying abroad for a year as part of an international degree course, you may apply to the SAF. The application process is online/by phone.

Can I apply to the SAF if I am participating in an Access/Foundation/Certificate/Return to Learning course?
You can apply if your course is of at least one year's duration leading to a qualification at Level 6-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. You can check your course level on Course Finder. If you find that the course you are taking is under Level 6 (e.g. the Return to Learning course is Level 5), you cannot apply to the SAF. However, the Student Budgeting Advisor may be able to advise you of other funds that might be available to you. Please refer to Who can and cannot Apply for more information on eligibility for the SAF.

I am registered on a part-time course at Maynooth University. Can I apply to the SAF?
You can apply to the SAF if you are a part-time student and your course is of at least one year's duration leading to an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification at Level 6-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. You can check your course level on Course Finder. If you find that the course you are taking is under Level 6 (e.g. the Return to Learning course is Level 5), the Student Budgeting Advisor may be able to advise you of other funds that might be available to you. Please refer to Who can and cannot Apply to the SAF for more information on your eligibility.

I am a postgraduate student. Can I apply to the SAF?
Yes, provided you satisfy the eligibility criteria you can apply to the SAF. Refer to Who can and cannot apply to the SAF for more information on your eligibility.

I have heard that there is special funding from the Student Assistance Fund for students of Professional Masters in Education (PME). How do I access it?
Funding is available for PME Primary or Secondary students for costs associated with your course. To review your eligibility see Who can and cannot apply to the SAF. To apply Book an Appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor and follow the instructions.

I am receiving a student grant from SUSI. Can I apply to the SAF?
Yes, provided you satisfy the eligibility criteria you can apply to the SAF – see Who can and cannot apply to the SAF.

I went to the Student Budgeting Advisor but wasn’t referred to the SAF. What can I do?
If the Student Budgeting Advisor decided not to recommend you for the SAF you can still apply but the lack of a referral will be taken into account. You should notify the Student Budgeting Advisor at student.budget@mu.ie that you want to progress your application to the SAF without a recommendation. Your application will be forwarded to the Access Office and a decision made by a sub-committee of the Student Financial Support Steering Committee. 

 


 

SAF RE-APPLICATION

If I have received SAF funding, but I am still struggling financially can I apply again in the same year?
Yes. You may make additional SAF applications, as many as you need to, each academic year. You must Book an appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor to make your first application  but second or subsequent applications  can be started by emailing student.budget@mu.ie and are generally processed more quickly.

If I already applied to the SAF and received SAF funding this semester/year, does this mean that I will automatically be funded next semester/ year?
Funding is not automatically repeated. You may make additional SAF applications, as many as you need to, each academic year. You must Book an appointment with the Student Budgeting Advisor to make your first application  but second or subsequent applications  can be started by emailing student.budget@mu.ie and are generally processed more quickly.

I have been approved for SAF funding. When will I receive payment?
Students who are approved for funding from the SAF will be notified by email that payment will be made to their bank account within 10 working days from the date of the approval email. When calculating the 10 working days, do not count weekends or public holidays. You should also check that you have registered your bank details with the University- please refer to Step 4 Register your Bank Details.

If you have registered your bank account details and the 10 working days have passed but you still have not received payment, you should contact joan.oriordan@mu.ie in the Maynooth University Fees Office who handles the actual payment to your account. 

Please review the information on how to Register your Bank Details.

If my application to the SAF is not successful, can I apply again?
Yes. You can apply as many times as you need to in the academic year and your application will be considered as long as the fund is still open.

 

 

SAF OUTCOME AND PAYMENT

Will I be notified of the outcome of my application?
Yes. Emails will be sent to your official @mumail.ie or @spcm.ie email address.

How is payment made to students who are approved for funding?
If approved for funding, payment will be made by electronic funds transfer into the student's own bank account.

Can I appeal the outcome of my SAF application?
See the SAF Appeals section in this FAQ for more information on the appeals process.

How much can I receive from the SAF?
The award from the Student Assistance Fund is based on each student’s individual circumstances. The average amount is around €500. 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 at www.maynoothuniversity.ie/moneymatters, but second or subsequent applications are quicker and can be started with an email to student.budget@mu.ie with an update of your circumstances.
 

The amount I was approved for was different to the amount I was first told/I was recommended for by the Student Budgeting Advisor?
When the Student Budgeting Advisor recommends an amount of funding, the calculation is based on the information provided by the student at that point. The information available to the Student Budgeting Advisor does not include the supporting documentation, which is submitted by the student after the consultation. The final decision on the amount to be awarded is made by the SAF sub-committee of the Student Financial Support Steering Committee and is based upon the Student Budgeting Advisor’s recommendation and all the information provided by the applicant, including the supporting documentation. The SAF sub-committee generally consults with the Student Budgeting Advisor before revising an award amount.   You may appeal the decision.

Are there other sources of funding available as well as/instead of the SAF?
Find out more about other funding options such as the Short Term Loan (for an emergency on the day a loan of up to €50 or food vouchers, cash has to be repaid) or the Emergency Fund (e.g. for a sudden or unexpected event that could not have been anticipated and financially impacts on a student’s ability to engage with their course e.g. illness). For more information on these and other sources of funding contact Maynooth University Student Budgeting Advisor.

 

 

SAF APPEAL

How do I make an appeal to the SAF?
Students who are not awarded funding through the SAF may wish to appeal this decision. Students who were awarded funding may wish to appeal the amount awarded.

You can appeal the decision if you believe that your application was not correctly considered. This might arise if you believe that your application was unsuccessful because of a failure to take account of one or more documents submitted or if you believe an error was made by the Access Office in relation to a document you submitted.

An application must have been fully completed and considered by the SAF sub-committee before an appeal can be made. As part of an appeal, a student can revise an application or submit new information and the appeal may then be referred to the Student Budgeting Advisor for review. 

Requests for an appeal must be made in the form of a letter to the Director of Access within 10 working days of the original decision being communicated to you. Requests for an appeal after this date will not be considered. You must outline where you believe an error occurred in the review of your application. Any other means of requesting an appeal, other than by way of a letter, will not be accepted.

Letters should be sent to Director of Access, Access Office, MAP Lodge, North Campus, Maynooth University, Co. Kildare.

SAF appeals will be considered by an Appeals Board which consists of 3 members of the Student Financial Support Steering Committee, excluding the Director of Access (or an alternate who may have been involved in the original decision). The Maynooth Students’ Union representative will always be invited to be on the Appeals Board. The decision of the Appeals Board is final.

Students will be informed in writing of the decision of the Appeals Board. For any queries in relation to the appeals process please contact saf@mu.ie.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND SHARING OF YOUR DATA

The Student Assistance Fund at Maynooth University operates within an ethos of respect, courtesy and confidentiality.
Application forms are designed to protect the student’s identity by using only an identification number during the decision-making process. Consultations are held in an environment of respect, confidence and only where it is necessary to gather essential information.
Where students provide supporting documentation belonging to a parent/guardian/partner/spouse they will be asked to provide a Data Consent form signed by the owner thereof. This form can be found in the MU SAF Documents Checklist 2020-2021
All data provided or accessed will be treated in a sensitive and confidential manner and will be stored, secured and remain strictly private and confidential in line with GDPR requirements and Maynooth University Data Protection.  
More information on how your data is used is below. This information appears at the end of the SAF application form and applicants are asked to agree before submitting their application:   

Personal data you provide as part of your application to the Student Assistance Fund will be used to process your application for funding and for the purposes of coordinating, monitoring and evaluating the operation of the SAF;  
This personal data may include special category data, including sensitive data such as socio-economic status, where they choose to share that data;  
Some of the data you provide may be shared with third parties such as the HEA or Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science for the purposes of coordinating, monitoring and evaluating the operation of the SAF;  
The personal data that you chose not to provide will not be shared with the HEA or the Department of Further and Higher Education but this does not exclude you from consideration for funding from the Student Assistance Fund. 
Some of the information you provide may be used for research purposes but these details will always be anonymised and none of your personal data will be identifiable. 
The information provided in the application forms and to the Student Budgeting Advisor and to the Access Office will be shared with relevant university offices for the purpose of processing your application to the Student Assistance Fund. 
6 The Student Budgeting Advisor may recommend that you apply to one or more of the financial supports available from Maynooth University and, in that case, the information provided for the SAF application may be used as part of that funding application and shared with relevant University offices; 
The outcomes from funding support applications will be shared with relevant university offices. 
Maynooth University/ Maynooth University Students' Union records may be accessed in order to assist the processing of your SAF application and to confirm that the information provided as part of an application is correct and complete. This information will be included as part of your application data. 
If you entered University through the HEAR route, the information provided in your HEAR application will be used in order to process and/or support your application for SAF funding.  
10  Maynooth University will not use the information for any additional purpose to those stated above. 
11  All data provided or accessed will be treated in a sensitive and confidential manner and will be stored, secured and remain strictly private and confidential in line with GDPR requirements and the Maynooth University Data Protection Policy.   
12  The information provided for the application will be held securely by Maynooth University in line with requirements of the Higher Education Authority (7 years) and  Maynooth University data retention periods – for more information on data retention periods see Maynooth University Data Protection Policy
13  The University Data Protection Officer Contact dataprotection@mu.ie
14  It is your responsibility to complete your application correctly and on time and failure to complete your application may disqualify you from funding. 
15  Your application will be assessed on the basis of all the information that you provide in the the application process. 
16  Funding from the Student Assistance Fund is dependent upon regular attendance at  your course at Maynooth University/St.Patrick's College, Maynooth. 
17  Funding from the Student Assistance Fund is dependent upon your not having received financial assistance from other sources, for the stated purpose which is the subject of this application. 
18  Funding from the Student Assistance Fund is dependent upon all the information you provide being true, complete and accurate. Giving false information or omitting relevant information in your application to the Student Assistance Fund will automatically disqualify your application for funding support and the university will seek to recoup any funds disbursed on the basis of such information. 
19  You will be notified and contacted about your application via your official university email address (@mumail.ie or @spcm.ie); it is your responsibility to check and read any Student Assistance Fund related emails. 

 
Please note that you may withdraw consent by contacting the Maynooth Access Office at 01-7086543 or on saf@mu.ie. This is flagged on the application form.

The University Data Protection Office may be contacted with any Data Protection concerns: dataprotection@mu.ie Tel. 01- 7086184. 

If you have any other queries about the Student Assistance Fund at Maynooth University which have not been answered you can email saf@mu.ie.

 

 

 

Government of Ireland and HEA logos 2020

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.