Funding Your College Education

Piggy bankJuly can provide a long suspense for many students who eagerly await Leaving Cert results. However there are a few things you can do this month to occupy your mind and prepare for college. One of which is looking into how you are going to fund your college education.

Summer Job

For many this involves securing a part time job. If you haven’t done so already get out there and blitz the local shops, supermarkets, bars and anywhere you think you might be able to find work. During the summer many companies require extra temporary staff to cover while employees are on holidays. Try to take advantage of this situation and if you impress your boss enough you may even be able to secure part-time work when the summer is over and you are starting in college. You can work up as many hours as you like now but it is good to reduce your hours to weekend work or a maximum of 15 hours spread across the week. Remember college is your priority. Don’t let a part-time job come between you and your studies or you may find the part time work becomes a more permanent source of income and the college dreams have passed you by!

Student Grant

Some students are able to apply for an education grant. This is dependent on your financial circumstances. Here is what you need to know about the SUSI grant offered to third level students in Ireland.  SUSI

What is a SUSI Grant?

Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) offer a grant system to students applying to study at Post Leaving Cert (PLC) level, Undergraduate level (levels 6-8) or Postgraduate level (8- 10) in Ireland and some courses outside of Ireland.

How do I know if I am eligible to apply for a SUSI Grant?

There are 4 criteria you need to meet:

  1. Residency and Nationality:
  • You must be an Irish, EU, EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss National, or have specific need to reside in the state (such as refugee status).
  • You must be a resident of Ireland or the EU for 3 of the last 5 years.
  1. Course
  • You must be progressing in your education.
  • Your course must be listed under the approved courses and institutions.
  1. Income
  • Eligibility is assessed under two categories: Independent Student, Dependent Student.

Independent student:

  • Must be 23 or over from 1st Jan 2015.
  • Must be living independent of parents/guardians since October 2014 and needs to have documentation to prove this

Dependent student:

This category is divided into Mature Dependent Student (over 23 on 1st Jan 2015) and    Dependent Student (under 23  on 1st Jan 2015). The income of the parents/guardians is taken into account when assessing the eligibility of a Dependent Student.

  1. Eligibility Reckoner

The income of the Independent Student or the income of the parents/guardians of the dependent student must fall within the limits of the Eligibility Reckoner in order to receive a grant. The Eligibility Reckoner is a simple form you can fill in online to see if you could be   eligible to apply for a grant. You will need to provide information on your gross income for 2014 if you are an Independent Student or your parents’ gross income for 2014 if you are a Dependent Student.

How do I apply?

All applications are made online

  1. Create an online account with SUSI.
  2. Complete the online form.
  3. Provide supporting documentation.
  4. Receive decision from SUSI.
  5. If successful you will receive grant.

For more information visit the SUSI website,

Closing date for applications is 1st August 2015.

Student LoansStudent Loan

The banks offer Student Loans to help you to fund your college education. It is worth doing a bit of research into the various options offered by the banks to find a loan that works best for you.

Some tips on Student Loans

  • Before going to the bank decide how much money you need and stick to that amount – don’t be tempted to borrow more than you need.
  • Decide how much you can afford to pay back every month and how long you want to space the re-payments over.
  • Research the loans offered by different banks. Some banks offer different types of student loans. Do your homework and look into interest rates and the terms and conditions of the loan.
  • Be informed: Make sure you understand the loan contract before signing it. Find out what the penalties are for late payments or if there is a penalty for early re-payment of the loan.
  • Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity on any aspects of the loan that you are unsure about. For most students this will be the first loan they have ever had and it is natural to need more guidance from the bank – so if you are unsure about something; ask.

Here is a brief synopsis of the student loans offered by Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank (AIB). For more information check out their websites, Bank of Ireland Student Loans, AIB Education Loans

BOI Student Interest Free Loan

Bank of Ireland offers an interest free loan to students. However this is capped at €1,500 and must be paid off over 12 months. The loan repayments can be deferred for 3 months which may give you time to get a part-time job and build up a bit of money before making loan repayments. Offer is only open to BOI account holders.

BOI Standard Student LoanBOI

BOI also offer a Standard Student loan, whereby students can borrow between €3,000 and €10,000 at a discounted variable rate of 9.7% APR. The loan can be paid back over 1-5 years.

BOI Postgraduate Loan

BOI have a Postgraduate loan. Students must be enrolled on a postgraduate course. Applicants can borrow up to €7,500, discounted variable rate 5.6% APR. Students can defer first payments by 12 months. Loans must be repaid in 5 years.

For more details on these loans:

AIBAIB Student Loan

AIB offer a student loan at a discounted rate of 9.95% APR. Loan terms are 1-5 years and the maximum loan offered is €50,000. Unscheduled repayments may be made on loan without incurring penalties. Applicants must hold an account at AIB and parent/guardian guarantee may be required.

AIB Student Contribution Loan

When you register at college you will be expected to pay a Student Contribution Fee of €3,000 per year. To help you to pay this fee AIB have designed a Student Contribution Fee Loan. You can apply for up to €3,000 each year for up to 4 years. The current interest rate is 8.45% APR. There is an interest only repayment option available for the duration of your college years. On completion of college education full loan re-payments must be made. The maximum loan term is 9 years. You have the option of making unscheduled payments without incurring penalty charges. A parent/guardian guarantee may be required.

For more information on AIB student loans:

Specialist Faculty Payments.

For those of you who are studying Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary or Pharmacy, you can avail of a specialist faculty loan in AIB or BOI. Psychology, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Law, Science, Mathematics, Architecture and Computing students can also avail of this loan in AIB. Whereas Accountancy, Science (IT & Telecoms) and Engineering (non-civil) students can avail of this loan in BOI.

BOI Preferred Faculty Loan

The Preferred Faculty Loan offered in BOI can be availed of by Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Pharmacy, Accountancy, Science (IT & Telecoms) and Engineering (non-civil) students in the last 3 years of their studies. They can enjoy 0% interest rates, they can borrow up to €2,500 per year (max. €7,500) and the loan can be paid over 8 years.

AIB Specialist Faculty Loan

Students enrolled on Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Pharmacy, Psychology, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Law, Science, Mathematics, Architecture and Computing courses can avail of this loan. They can enjoy a 0% interest rate, they can borrow up to €10,000 and the loan must be paid over 5 years to secure the 0% interest rate. Alternatively the loan can be paid over 10 years with 0% interest in the first 5 years.

Terms and Conditions apply on all these loans. For more information visit the Student Loan section on the Bank of Ireland and AIB Websites. AIB Education Loans, Bank of Ireland Student Loans

Image References:

Blue Piggy Bank Savings: Image courtesy of posterize at

Student Loan Application: Image courtesy of bluebay at

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