Students applying for Level 8 programmes must meet the Nationality Requirements AND the Residency Requirements to qualify for free fees:
Students applying to Level 8 programmes must have been resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss State for at least 3 out of the 5 years preceeding entry to their third level course.
From 2013/2014 the following are not required to meet the residency clause to avail of the Free Fees Initiative.
- Child of Semi State Agency officials who are on assignment outside the EU
- Children of Department of Foreign Affairs officials who are on assignment in countries outside of the EU (subsequently a decision was made to also include children of Government officials on assignment outside the EU).
- Students and family members of volunteer development workers.
- Children of certain Irish officials working with the UN where such service was akin to that of a member of the Irish diplomatic service.
From 2014/2015 students who hold EU/EEA/Swiss nationality but were not resident in these states, have completed five academic years of study (at either primary or post-primary level) in a EU/EEA/Swiss State and commence their first undergraduate course of student, will be charged the EU rate of Fee.
- EU/EEA/Swiss Passport
- Letter from a primary or post-primary provider of education confirming attendance for a period of five consecutive years of education.
- Students must be a national of an EU Member State/EEA country or Swiss Confederation OR Persons who have official refugee status in this State. Time spent from date of official lodgement of application papers for refugee status will be included for the purpose of meeting the three year residency requirement.
- Family members of a refugee who are granted permission by the Minister for Justice and Equality to enter and reside in Ireland under Section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996.
- Persons who have permission to remain in the State as a family member of a Union citizen under the provisions of the European Communities Regulations 2006 and 2008 and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
- Persons who have been granted Humanitarian Leave to remain in the State or be a person in respect of whom the Minister for Justice and Law Reform has granted permission to remain following a determination not to make a deportation order under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.
Please note in relation to the categories above, the following documentation is required to prove the Nationality eligibility under the Free Fees Initiative:
- Irish Birth Certificate or European Union Passport.
- Original letter from the Minister for Justice and Law Reform declaring that the person is a refugee under Section 17 of the Refugee Act, 1996.
- Original letter from the Minister for Justice and Law Reform confirming the family member status of the refugee under Section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996. A GNIB Residence Card must also be produced.
- Original family member’s letter from the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, a copy of their passport and their GNIB Residence Card bearing the title “4EUFAM”. Please note a Stamp 4 is not sufficient for a student to qualify for free tuition fees.
- Original letter from the Department of Justice and Law Reform stating either that the person has humanitarian leave to remain in the State or permission to remain in the State following a determination not to make a deportation order. They must also produce a copy of their passport and a GNIB Residence card.
- Certificates of Naturalisation, for the purpose of determining eligibility for Free Fees, a Certificate of Naturalisation must be accompanied by another form of formal identification, preferably one with photographic identification eg passport or driving licence, where a student does not have a passport or driving licence, original letters issued to them from the Department of Justice confirming their status are acceptable.
- If a parent has received Irish citizenship under Certificate of Naturalisation and the child still held Non-EU citizenship then they would come under the category ‘Persons who have been granted permission to remain in the State as a family member of a European Union citizen”. This is covered under the Appendix 1.3 of the criteria for the Free Fees Scheme.
- If the child’s residency category is ‘permission to remain’ and their Parent’s hold a Certificate of Naturalisation then they would be considered for free tuition fees once they meet all other criteria of the scheme and their residency card bears the title Stamp4EUFam.
- For students under 23 on year of entry, they must provide Original P21 Tax Certificates and/or Social Welfare documentation for parent (s) of student for three of the previous five years.
- For students over 23 on year of entry, the student themselves must provide Original P21 Tax Certificates and/or Social Welfare documentation for three of the previous five years.
Previous Third Level
A Progression Clause in the Free Fees Initiative accommodates students who are progressing to a higher level undergraduate award via the “add-on” year’s route. It is intended to allow students who have completed a Level 6 or 7 programme and wish to undertake a related Level 8 and desire to be eligible under the Free Fees Initiative for the duration of the “add-on” years of the related Level 8 programme.
However, the Initiative also provides for students who may only receive a partial exemption for the normal course duration, i.e. in circumstances where a student may only receive an exemption from 2 years of the Level 8 programme instead of 3.
Students who hold a Level 7 qualification, and who were approved under the Free Fees Initiative for the programme, and who undertake a new Level 8 programme from year one cannot be considered as progressing for the purpose of Free Fees Initiative. In this case, the Level 8 programme would be considered as a second undergraduate programme and not eligible under the Free Fees Initiative. However, students may be entitled to free tuition fees for the final year of their Level 8 programme.
Tuition fees will not be paid for students undertaking a repeat year of study or for students who already hold an undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualification.
Tuition fees will be paid in respect of eligible students who, having attended but not completed a Level 8 programme, and are returning following a break of at least five years in order to pursue another Level 8 programme.
Students who have previously pursued, but not completed a third level programme will not be eligible for free tuition fees for the equivalent period of time spent on the first programme of study.