Third-level education, finances and worry

Dealing with money on any level has the potential to make any of us break into a cold sweat.

But, the thought of financing your son or daughter’s third-level study can bring a whole new level of stress.

Blue piggy bank standing on coins and monopoly moneyThe whole process of student finances can be extremely complicated. But, there’s potentially some help out there.


In Ireland many third-level fees are paid for up to level 8  (on the National Qualification Framework). This may include level 6 and level 7 diplomas and certificates.

However, once a certain level is¬†achieved, students must advance to avail of free fees. For instance, if someone has a level 6 diploma, they won’t get fees paid to repeat or take on new studies at the same level.

Irish universities, institutes of technology and qualifying colleges are part of the free-fee scheme. It sometimes also covers study abroad.

The scheme comes with conditions though and is only available for people who don’t already have a degree.


There are bursaries available to help eligible students with registration and living costs.

Whether an applicant is eligible or not will depend on a number of things including their parents’/guardians’ income (if the applicant is under 23 years-old on 1 January of the year of application).

Get advice

If the whole process is daunting, or if there’s something you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask for help. and have information online., also have a helpline with people trained to deal with specific questions regarding financial support.


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