Bunclody Vocational College is a Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board School
Waterford & Wexford ETB

HEAR - DARE Scheme

Thinking of going to College next year? Did you know that if you have a disability, or if your parents earn below a certain amount, you could gain access to College on reduced CAO points?

Thinking of going to College next year? Did you know that if you have a disability, or if your parents earn below a certain amount, you could be entitled to a College grant. You could also gain access to your chosen College course on reduced CAO points. Mr. Porter explains the importance of registering with CAO and he also describes both the HEAR and the DARE scheme in further detail below. There are also links below to a video which explains how the HEAR and DARE schemes work.

Dear Parents of 6th years,

As the leaving cert comes one step closer there are some important things that you need to be aware of regarding your son/daughter’s education.

The first is the HEAR and DARE scheme.

The HEAR scheme stands for the Higher Education Access Route. It is an admissions route for leaving certs who for social, financial or cultural reasons are under represented in 3rd level. It was set up to ensure that all leaving certs have a fair and equal opportunity to progress to third level.

The main benefit to HEAR is that students can get college places on reduced points which is a massive benefit. They also receive extra supports once in college. So if a course is 366 points, they may get accepted into the course with 356 points.

There are some requirements for the HEAR scheme. The main requirement is that if your household income was on or below 45,790 euro. So if your household income was on or below this, your next step is to let me know and I can determine if your son/daughter is eligible for the HEAR admissions scheme.

DARE is the Disability Access Route to Education. It is an admissions scheme for school leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to leaving certs who as a result of having a disability have experienced additional educational challenges.

The following are the disabilities eligible for consideration:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder including Asperger’s syndrome
  • Blind / Vision impaired
  • Deaf
  • Dyspraxia
  • Mental Health Conditions (must have evidence from a psychiatrist)
  • Brain injury
  • Speech and language disorder
  • Significant ongoing illness
  • Physical disability

Like HEAR, there are also eligibility criteria’s. If your son/daughter meets the educational impact criteria and the evidence of disability criteria they are DARE eligible.

If your son/daughter meets any of the above, please get in contact with me. They need to apply to the CAO by the 1st of February and complete the DARE section by the 1st March.


Your son and daughter also needs to register with the CAO by the 1st of February. The cost is 30 euro. They cannot go to college without registering with the CAO so it is very important. If your son/daughter hasn’t registered yet, please do so immediately. It only takes a few minutes. They don’t have to upload any courses however they do need to register. They will get a CAO number once they register. If your son/daughter wishes to do a plc course (level 5) they don’t need to register with the CAO. The CAO is for all level 6,7 and 8 courses.

SUSI Grant

The other important grant to be aware of is the SUSI grant. The SUSI grant is a grant for students going on to 3rd level. There are different income thresholds for the SUSI grant, depending on how many children you have and if they are also in 3rd level. To find out more go to www.susi.ie. Applications don’t open until April.

I have attached two presentations that were done recently by the CAO about the HEAR and DARE scheme. If you think your son/daughter is eligible for them it is important to watch them, they go into everything in a lot of detail.

If you would like any further information on any of the above please feel free to get in touch with me.

Kind regards,

Mr. Porter

Guidance Counsellor

Bunclody Vocational College

HEAR Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu8mPqtj-58&t=3213s

DARE Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Kldt6loh4A

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