Mature Student

Find out about the entry routes and financial supports available for Mature Students

More and more people are entering third-level education as mature students.

The following information should assist you in applying to ATU as a mature student.

ATU Graduation Ceremony

Pathways to ATU Guide 2022 For Mature, FE/PLC Applicants

Entry Routes

Information only pertains to ATU campuses in Galway and Mayo.

There are three separate entry routes by which mature students may enter ATU:

1. Through CAO using a previous qualification: Leaving Certificate, Fetac Level 5 or 6 in competition with all other entrants on points. Place awarded in August.

2. Through the CAO using the mature students route as a special category: Candidates must be 23 or over on the 1st of January in the year of entry to the course, applying through the CAO and filling in pages 3 and 4 of the application form. Candidates will be assessed based on their application and previous educational qualifications/personal statement. For courses with limited places, applicants will be ranked in order of merit. Places will be awarded in July and August, through the CAO.

3. Through successful completion of one of the Foundation programmes run by the University of Galway and ATU. These foundation courses are designed to prepare you for higher level education and provide access to courses in ATU and the University of Galway. You can choose from the three programmes below.

Recognised Prior Learning

Do you have work experience or previous qualifications that are relevant to the course you want to study?

Then you may be able to use RPL to:

  • Gain entry to the course

  • Gain advanced entry to the course

  • Gain exemptions from parts of the course

  • Transfer from one course to another

  • Gain entry to a postgraduate programme where you may not have the standard primary honours degree required for entry

Visit for full instructions on how to apply using RPL, and to see Success Stories from mature students who have taken this route.

Accumulation of Credits and Certification of Modules (ACCM)

If you can't commit to studying full time, consider ACCM.

ACCM is an innovative scheme whereby modules may be studied on a single module basis.

Module certificates are awarded to successful participants and credits may be accumulated towards a full award.

ATU also offers some evening programmes through this scheme. Most full time programmes at the ATU campuses in Galway and Mayo are available on an ACCM basis.

Complete the Access the Accumulation of Credits and Certification of Module (ACCM) Form (online form).

Financial Supports for Mature Students

There are a number of financial supports available for Mature Students:

1. Grants and Funds Available for Mature Students

A comprehensive list of grants and funds available to mature students can be accessed on the Citizens Information website.

2. Mature Student Scholarships

ATU awards three scholarships for registered first year mature students every year. See our Scholarships page for more information. 

3. Student Assistance Fund (SAF)

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is intended to provide financial support to disadvantaged students who require additional financial support to enable them to fully benefit from their third level studies.

The SAF is funded by the Irish Government and part-funded by the European Social Fund under the Human Capital Investment Operational Programme.

SAF application forms are available from the Student Services/Administration Offices at all campuses or is available to download from the student portal. Early application is advised.

4. Uversity Scholarships for Adult Learners 

Uversity’s scholarships will provide full financial support, if required, for the entire period of recipients’ study.  They will provide meaningful, multi-annual financial support for recipients to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree for the first time in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Click here for details on Uversity Scholarships.

Other Supports for Mature Students

Our Access & Disability Office provides assistance for Mature Students in the following areas:

  • Assistance with the application process (CAO)

  • Information and advice on sources of funding

  • Study Skills Workshops and courses covering: Effective Study Techniques; Effective Note-Taking; Essay Writing; Examination Techniques and Maths

Contact our Access & Participation Office for more information at:

Recognised Prior Learning

Applications for all first year full-time Higher Certificate (Level 6), Ordinary Bachelor Degree (Level 7) and Honours Bachelor Degree (Level 8) courses are made to:

Central Applications Office (CAO)
Tower House,
Eglington Street,
Tel: + 353 (0) 91 509800


Contact the Access & Participation Office (Galway-Mayo)

+353 (0)91 742461