I want to do a postgrad, but they’re hugely expensive. Are there grants available?

Grants for postgraduate courses were axed during the recession, but have been restored in recent years

I work in media and am planning to start a postgraduate course next September to expand my skills into other areas. I hadn’t realised how hugely expensive they are, ranging from anywhere between €7,000 and €20,000. It will be a big stretch for me. Is there any grant support is available for postgraduate students?

Grants for postgraduate courses were axed during the austerity era, but I’m happy to report that grants have been restored in recent years.

Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi.ie) is the national grant awarding authority for further and higher education grants. To get a quick indication of your eligibility for funding, check out the eligibility indicator on their website. Here you’ll also find a full list of income thresholds and associated grant rates.

Applications for the academic year 2024/25 are now open and can be made online and the Susi support team is available to answer any questions.

If you don’t quality, there are also more affordable microcredentials available (microcreds.ie), which are small, accredited courses designed to meet upskilling requirements. They normally cost, on average, about €1,100. However, there are State subsidies for many in areas of skills demand, reducing the cost to around €220-€550.

Back to postgrads: broadly, three are types of funding available to eligible postgraduate students for the next academic year.

The first is a “special rate” for postgraduate tuition fees of up to €6,270, plus a maintenance grant to help with living costs. To be eligible, total household income must be under €26,200 for households with less than four dependent children.

A second type of grant is the “postgraduate fee contribution and maintenance grant”. This involves a contribution grant of up to €4,000, plus a maintenance grant. To be eligible, total household income must be under €50,840 for households with less than four dependent children.

Maintenance grants were reintroduced for eligible postgraduate students in Budget 2024 and the amount of the maintenance grant depends on the level of the student’s total household income.

A third is the “postgraduate fee contribution grant”, similar to above, minus the maintenance grant. It provides a contribution grant of up to €4,000. To be eligible, total household income must be under €55,240 for households with less than four dependent children.

To be eligible for funding from Susi for all of the above, there are eligibility criteria such as nationality and residency. In addition, students must be “progressing”, which means attending a course that leads to a higher level of qualification than they hold, and are not repeating a year, except in exceptional circumstances. Students must also attend approved courses in approved institutions (a list can be found on Susi’s website).

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