HEAR- Higher Education Access Route



HEAR- Higher Education Access Route is a college and university scheme that offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. School leavers under the age of 23 as of 1 January 2025 who are resident in the Republic of Ireland can apply to HEAR.

HEAR applicants must meet a number of indicators in order to be considered for reduction points and extra college supports; these include financial, social and cultural indicators.



How do i apply for Hear?

Applications to HEAR can only be made online through the Central Applications Office (CAO) at www.cao.ie

For information about the process of applying to DARE and HEAR including the deadlines and criteria, please check the Access College website- https://accesscollege.ie/

To complete the HEAR application you must get help from your parents/guardians and use the HEAR handbook when answering all relevant questions on your online HEAR application.

This CAO online guide will assist you when making a HEAR application- www.cao.ie/index.php?page=videodh&l=377515382


Minimum Entry Requirements

Applicants must meet minimum entry requirements in order to be considered for reduced points for a chosen course, this includes where relevant (depending on the course) minimum scores for portfolios, entrance tests, maths, medical examinations and so on. These are listed on each course description and are available at www.mtu.ie/courses/


How will I know if I am HEAR eligible?

Applicants are informed of the outcome of their HEAR application by the end of June; via email (to the email address given as part of their CAO application) and in their online CAO portal. 


How does the HEAR Scheme work in mtu cork Campus?

To be considered for reduced points entry to MTU Cork Campus you must have applied to study a course here at MTU Cork Campus through the CAO, have applied to HEAR online through the CAO and meet the following criteria:

  • You must be deemed HEAR eligible,
  • You must meet the minimum entry requirements for a chosen course (see above),
  • You must achieve at least 200 CAO points through the Leaving Certificate.

If you meet all of the above criteria you may be considered for a reduced points place in MTU Cork Campus. 

How does MTU Cork Campus make HEAR offers?

You can read the full MTU DARE/HEAR procedure and criteria document (PDF) for more information .

Once an applicant meets all the above criteria MTU Cork Campus may offer up to a maximum of 50 points reduction on the required points for a chosen course.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE- Being HEAR eligible does not guarentee you a reduced points offer at MTU Cork Campus.

Quota places

There is a guideline of 5% reduced points HEAR places on all first-year full time under-graduate programmes of study in MTU Cork Campus, including MTU Cork School of Music, MTU Crawford College of Art and Design and National Maritime College of Ireland.


How are reduced points places offered at MTU Cork Campus?

  • MTU Cork Campus prioritises reduced points offers to students who are jointly HEAR eligible and DARE eligible. This is in addition to priority offers to students who are DARE eligible under the categories of physical and sensory disabilities.
  • Offers are made to jointly HEAR and DARE eligible applicants who meet all requirements and are nearest to the points requirement for a chosen course.
  • Thereafter, offers are made to any remaining applicants who meet all requirements, on a points merit basis (i.e. students who meet all requirements and are nearest to the points requirement for the chosen course).


On/Above Points Offers (Merit Offers)

HEAR eligible students who meet or exceed the required points for a chosen course will receive an offer through the CAO in the same manner as other CAO applicants and do not count against the 5% quota for reserved places on reduced points. These students are also required to meet minimum entry requirements for a chosen course. Students who are deemed HEAR eligible and who receive a CAO merit offer place in MTU Cork Campus will qualify for post entry supports available from the MTU Cork Campus Access Service including financial, academic and personal supports.


What happens after I receive a MTU Cork offer?

MTU Cork Campus Access Service will be in contact with all HEAR eligible students via email (using your CAO email address) after you receive a MTU Cork Campus offer through the CAO with details of the mandatory induction programme in addition to information on post-entry supports available. 


Supports available from MTU Cork Access Service

All HEAR eligible students, once registered in MTU Cork Campus, are entitled to avail of post entry supports (financial, academic, social and personal) whether they receive a reduced points offer or merit offer through HEAR.


For any queries please email hearcork@mtu.ie or call 021 433 5138