ATU is a member of the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR).
What is the HEAR Scheme?

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers who have experienced socio-economic disadvantage. Socio-economic disadvantage negatively impacts on educational attainment at school and affects progression by some second level students to third level.

HEAR offers reduced points places to school-leavers who as a result of their socio-economic background have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.

In addition, eligible applicants who get a place in ATU will receive a variety of academic, personal and social supports including:

  • an in-depth orientation programme
  • financial support
  • academic support
  • personal and social support

You can also visit the HEAR website at www.accesscollege.ie/HEAR 

DARE and HEAR staff at GMIT Open Day


ATU and the HEAR Scheme

School-leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds applying for full-time undergraduate programmes at ATU should apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO), indicating on their application that they meet a range of social, financial and cultural indicators. 

Can I apply to HEAR?

Yes you can apply to HEAR, if you are a  school-leaver under the age of 23 as of 1st January in the year of applying, and you have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education, but you may not be able to meet the points for your preferred course due to the impact of  socio-economic factors on your second level education

Applicants to HEAR can present with an Irish Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and other EU qualifications.

How do I apply to HEAR?

Applicants wishing to apply to HEAR should do so online through the CAO by 1st February.

Full instructions on how to apply to the HEAR Scheme are available on the HEAR website at www.accesscollege.ie

How does the HEAR Scheme apply to ATU?

Each member Institute/University of HEAR applies the scheme slightly differently in terms of available places, points reductions and so on.

ATU reserves places on all full-time undergraduate courses to offer on a reduced-points basis to HEAR eligible students.

The HEAR Scheme is not available to Mature Students, Postgraduate Students or Part-time Students.

Reduced-points offers

In order to be considered for a reduced-points offer for ATU courses through the HEAR scheme, you must apply to study at ATU through the CAO, apply to HEAR through the CAO, and meet the following criteria:

  1. You must be deemed HEAR-eligible.

  2. You must meet the minimum entry requirements for your chosen course. Where the course has fitness to practice and/or fitness to study criteria, these must also be met.

If you meet the criteria above, you may be considered for a reduced-points offer of a place on your chosen course

Points reductions

For applicants who meet the above criteria, ATU offers an approximate points reduction of up to 50 points on the required points for each course. Please note, not all HEI’s offer a 50 points reduction.

  • ATU does prioritise offers to HEAR-eligible students who are also eligible for the DARE Scheme 
  • Reduced-points offers are first made to these prioritised applicants.
  • Reduced-points offers are then made to any remaining applicants who are within 50 points of their chosen programme.
Prioritisation of applicants eligible for both DARE and HEAR

In order to increase the number of students in Access and Participation at college who experience socio-economic disadvantage 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.

Please note: Being HEAR-eligible does not guarantee you a reduced-points offer.

Re-allocation of unused places

ATU is also a member of the DARE Scheme. In cases where reserved places for DARE applicants have not been filled, these places may be offered to eligible HEAR applicants. Similarly, in cases where reserved places for HEAR applicants have not been filled, these places may be offered to DARE applicants.

On or above points offers

HEAR-eligible applicants who achieve more than or equal to the required points for their chosen programme may receive offers in the same manner as any other student and do not count against the number of places allocated for reduced-points offers.

Such students must still meet the minimum entry requirements for their chosen course, and will be entitled to all the supports offered by the ATU Access and Participation Office.

Minimum entry requirements 

All applicants to ATU applying on the basis of their Leaving Certificate, regardless of whether they are HEAR-eligible or not, or meet the points requirement or not, must meet the course-specific minimum entry requirements for their chosen course.

Applicants are strongly advised to consult the minimum entry requirements for their chosen course prior to applying through HEAR and the CAO. Details of minimum entry requirements for all courses are available in the ATU prospectus.

Further Information

If you have any queries, please contact the ATU Access and Participation Office

Email: hear@gmit.ie

Phone: (091) 742561 / (091) 742598 / 085 870 761 2       

Please note that online applications through the HEAR scheme will close on 1st March.