The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third level alternative admissions scheme which offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that socio-economic disadvantage can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.
HEAR is for school leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January in the year of entry and who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR applicants must meet a range of financial, social and cultural indicators to be considered for a reduced points place and extra college support.
The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who as a result of having a disability have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.
DARE is for school leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January in the year of entry who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education, but who may not be able to meet the points for their preferred course due to the impact of a disability on their second level education. Applicants to DARE can present with an Irish Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and other EU qualifications.
Maynooth University reserves reduced points places for eligible DARE and / or HEAR applicants on all undergraduate courses. A minimum of 5.5% of first year intake is reserved for students entering Maynooth University through DARE and HEAR on reduced points. Click here for information on the number of reduced points places available on each course.
To be considered for a reduced points DARE and/or HEAR place you must:
- Be eligible for DARE and/or HEAR
- You must meet the minimum entry (matriculation) requirements of the University, that is, 2H5 and 4 06/H7 or higher. This must include Irish and English. In many courses a third language is required. Click here for full details of requirements.
- You must meet any subject specific requirements for the course, for example, a grade O4/H7 in mathematics is required to study the BA in Finance.
- You must have attained a minimum of 300 points (or other identified minimum entry standard) in your Leaving Certificate.
- Applicants will be eligible to compete for a DARE/HEAR offer if they are within 60 points of their chosen course. If the University does not fill its quota of places, a marginal increase on the 60 points concession may be considered in order to fill the quota.
- Permission to combine two sittings of the Leaving Certificate may be given to DARE applicants, where it is viewed that the student was exceptionally disadvantaged at second level due to the impact of his/her disability.
Once these requirements have been met, Maynooth University normally allocates the reduced points places to eligible applicants who come nearest to the full points for their preferred course.
Remember, the reduction in points for DARE and/or HEAR places in Maynooth University can vary significantly every year. The amount of points a particular course is reduced by is dependent on a number of factors, which are:
- The overall number of places on the course;
- The number of reduced points DARE and or HEAR places on the course;
- The number of DARE and/or HEAR eligible applicants competing for these reduced points places.
Being eligible for DARE and/or HEAR does not guarantee you a reduced points place.
Research has identified that students with disabilities from disadvantaged backgrounds face considerable challenges in terms of their chances of progressing to higher education in Ireland. In order to increase the number of students facing the ‘double disadvantage’ of poverty and disability, DARE and HEAR colleges have agreed to prioritise applicants eligible for both DARE and HEAR when allocating reduced points places. Applicants eligible for both schemes can only be prioritised where they have met all the admissions criteria for consideration.
Research has identified that students with physical and sensory disabilities are particularly under-represented in higher education relative to all students with disabilities in Ireland. In order to increase the numbers of DARE students with physical and sensory disabilities being admitted to higher education, the DARE colleges have agreed to prioritise these two groups when allocating reduced points places. Eligible applicants with physical and sensory disabilities can only be prioritised where they have met all the admissions criteria for consideration.
Launchpad is a comprehensive orientation programme for HEAR and DARE students. This outstanding programme improves academic performance and retention, and supports students to reach their academic potential at Maynooth University.
Students who are eligible for HEAR must attend Launchpad to receive HEAR supports while at the University. Students who choose not to attend Launchpad will retain their HEAR place, but will not receive HEAR supports for the duration their study. In exceptional circumstances only, and where a student provides appropriate supporting documentation, an exemption or partial attendance of Launchpad may be permitted.
Students who are eligible for DARE and/or HEAR and who accepted a place at Maynooth University may defer their place at the University. To defer a place, students should follow the University's deferral procedures.