Widening participation has been a key priority for colleges and universities for many years. Across the seven university campuses, the student body is increasingly reflective of our diverse society by supporting access to higher education for all. This involves putting into place policies and infrastructure which facilitates people with disabilities, those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, mature students and students coming from further education & training courses.

Recruiting students from all walks of life who demonstrate the ability, motivation and potential to succeed at third level will, over time, draw outstanding talent from a broad pool of applicants. This will make sure that our universities remain diverse, vibrant places in which to study and become more representative of the society which they serve.

In this section you can find information about the various ways the Irish universities facilitate and support social mobility and access to higher education for unrepresented groups.

Coming Up: IUA RTE 5 part documentary series – My Uni Life – begins RTE 1 7.30pm Friday November 6th.

DARE & HEAR Access Programmes

DARE & HEAR Access Programmes

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) were established to promote access to education nationally. offers a wealth of information on applying for the schemes and eligibility. Read more…

Further Education & Training Qualifications

Further Education & Training Qualifications

If you are coming from a Further Education & Training course The Irish universities welcome applicants from candidates who wish to progress to higher education with appropriate awards at Level 5 or Level 6. Read more…

Mature Students

The universities have diverse student populations and actively encourage applications from mature candidates. Mature students are those aged 23 years or above on 1st January in the year of entry. Read more…

Our Charter Commitment on Access


  •  Increasing access numbers by a further 30% by 2025 with a well targeted strategy.

IUA’s Access Programme Manager is Colm Downes.