The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The scheme is run by a number of Higher Education Institutions and is open to students from every secondary school in Ireland.

As well as possibly being allocated a place on a reduced points basis, students who secure a place in the University of Limerick through HEAR, are offered a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. 

HEAR is for school leavers, under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2022, who are also resident in the Republic of Ireland. Mature and Further Educational Training (FET) students have their own admissions routes and should contact the Mature Student Office for further information. 

Reduced Points Places: Each participating college has a reserved number of places to offer eligable HEAR students at lower Leaving Certificate points. 
Extra College Support: HEAR students will receive a variety of academic, personal and social supports while in college. Examples of these may include:

  • An orientation programme introducing college life
  • Extra tuition if required, study skills and exam preparation
  • One to one meeting with student advisors
  • Social gathering/mentoring
  • Extra financial assistance when available and advice regarding grants and scholarships

Hear is not your maintenance grant (SUSI grant). The maintenance grant is the main source of financial assistance available from the Irish State for students in full-time Post Leaving Certificate Courses (PLCs) and other full-time higher education undergraduate courses. 

HEAR is an admissions scheme to help students who many not traditionally go on to third level. Students applying to HEAR are encouraged to find out more information on the maintenance grants by logging into Additional information on financial assistance for third level students is available at 

HEAR applications can only be made online. Applications will not be accepted in any other way. 

Applicants applying for HEAR must:

  1. Be under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2023
  2. Apply online to CAO by 17:15 1 February 2023. CAO applications open on 5 November 2021 at 12 noon. 
  3. No later than 17:15 on 1 March 2023, indicate in your CAO applicaiton that you wish to apply for the HEAR scheme fully and correctly complete all elements of the online HEAR application form. Once you have completed the HEAR application form you will get a checklist which tells you which documents need to be supplied. 
  4. Post your supporting documents to arrive in CAO no later than 14:15 15 March 2023.

To complete your online HEAR application you must get assistance from your parents/guardians. The HEAR 2022 Handbook provides all of the information needed on how to submit the online application.