The HEAR Scheme

What is the HEAR scheme?

TU Dublin is a member of the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) scheme, a third-level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers who have experienced socio-economic disadvantage that negatively affects educational attainment at school and 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. Places for HEAR students are reserved on most of our courses. Details of reserved places for entry in 2023. In addition, eligible applicants who get a place in TU Dublin will receive a variety of supports, including: financial advice and guidance, academic support and personal support. Detailed information is available on the HEAR website.

Who can apply to HEAR?

HEAR is for school-leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January in the year of application  who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education, but may not be able to meet the points for their preferred course due to the impact of their socio-economic background on their second-level education.

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

How do you apply to HEAR?

If you wish to apply to HEAR, you should do so online through the CAO by 1 February annually. Full instructions on how to apply to the HEAR Scheme are available on the HEAR website.

How does the HEAR scheme apply to TU Dublin?

Each HEAR member institute or university applies the scheme slightly differently in terms of available places, points reductions and so on. TU Dublin reserves a minimum of 5% to 10% of places on all full-time undergraduate programmes 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.

Please Note:

The Access Service in TU Dublin will only make reduced points offers in Round 1.  If you are eligible and receive an offer in a later CAO round, you will be supported by either the Access Service and/or the Disability Support Service. If you are eligible and receive a CAO offer after round 1, please contact 01 220 7113 to avail of supports from the Access Service.

Reduced-points offers

To be considered for a reduced-points offer for TU Dublin programme through the HEAR scheme, you must apply to study at TU Dublin through the CAO, apply to HEAR through the CAO, and meet all of the following criteria:

  1. You must be deemed HEAR-eligible.
  2. You must meet the minimum entry requirements for your chosen programme of study. Details on the minimum entry requirements for each programme are available here. Where programmes have fitness to practice and/or fitness to study criteria, these must also be met.
  3. Example: If a programme’s points requirement is 320 points, applicants with 280 points or more may be considered for a reduced-points offer.
  4. TU Dublin  prioritises offers to HEAR-eligible students who are also eligible for the DARE Scheme (click here for more details)
  5. Reduced-points offers are first made to these prioritised applicants who achieve at least 87.5% of the points requirement and are nearest to the points requirement for their preferred programme.
  6. Reduced-points offers are then made to any remaining applicants who achieve at least 87.5% of the points requirement and are nearest to the points requirement for their preferred programme.

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

Points reductions

For applicants who meet all of the above criteria, TU Dublin offers an approximate points reduction of up to 12.5% on the required points for each programme, subject to some rounding. Thus, you must achieve at least 87.5% of the points requirement for your preferred programme.

Prioritisation – DARE and HEAR

Research has found that students from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds with disabilities face considerable challenges in terms of their chances of progressing to higher education in Ireland. To increase the number of students facing the double disadvantage of 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.

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

Re-allocation of unused places

TU Dublin is a member of both the HEAR and DARE schemes. 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 5% of places allocated for reduced-points offers. Such students must still meet the minimum entry requirements for their chosen programme, and will be entitled to all of the supports offered by the TU Dublin Access Service.

Minimum-entry requirements & language waivers

All applicants to TU Dublin City Campus 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 programme-specific minimum-entry requirements for their chosen programme of study.

Some programmes in TU Dublin have a modern language as a minimum entry requirement (e.g. International Business & Languages with French). Applicants who do not meet this minimum entry requirement cannot be considered for a place on such a programme, regardless of whether they’ve been granted a language waiver in the Leaving Certificate.

You’re strongly advised to consult the minimum entry requirements for your chosen programme before you apply through HEAR and the CAO. 


If you’ve any queries, please contact: TU Dublin Access Service at or call: