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Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)

Applicants, parents and Guidance Counsellors with questions about completing the HEAR form should consult the published handbooks and contact CAO if they cannot find answers to their questions. We will have staff trained in dealing with queries on completing these sections of the form.

Questions on how applicants will be assessed and how offers are to be determined should be directed to the Access and Disability Offices in Higher Education Institutions and not CAO. CAO plays no part in making decisions on admissions.

To speak to a HEAR representative in the Access Office of each of the participating institutions please use the contact details listed here.

HEAR downloads

Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)
HEAR Handbook Download
Request for Information - Dept. of Social Protection Download
HEAR School Presentation Download
HEAR Information Leaflet Download
HEAR Application Information Day
HEAR Application Information Session will take place on 13 January 2024. For more information please see Access College
HEAR Application Videos
How to apply to HEAR 2024

This video shows the HEAR application process in full.
How to apply to HEAR 2024 (with subtitles)

This video shows the HEAR application process in full with subtitles.
HEAR Application Video by Section
1. What is HEAR? What colleges participate in HEAR?  View 
2. What are the benefits of HEAR?  View 
3. HEAR Indicators

   This video covers the 6 HEAR indicators.
4. Making a HEAR Application

   A Step-by Step Guide: HEAR Application form Sections 1-7

   This video covers how to apply to HEAR and how to complete the following sections

   of the online HEAR application form:

   Section 1: Address

   Section 2: Second level school

   Section 3: Medical Card

   Section 4: In Care of the State

   Section 5: Family Dependents

   Section 6: Socio Economic Group (SEG)

   Section 7: Family Financial Circumstances and supporting documents
5. Carrying Forward Eligibility

   This video explains how to carry forward HEAR eligibility from 2023 to 2024
6. Top Tips to Avoid Mistakes  View 

Timetable of events for HEAR application process

Please note:

1. These dates may be amended. CAO may communicate with applicants on dates that are not listed below.

2. CAO will correspond with applicants via post, e-mail, SMS text or telephone. All CAO correspondence must be read carefully and any errors or omissions notified to CAO immediately.

3. It may take some time to prepare supporting documents and applicants must allow enough time to ensure that their documents reach CAO by the deadline. Documents received after the deadline will not be accepted.

4. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all relevant correspondence is received and dealt with appropriately. If an applicant is going to be absent at any stage between February and October, they should arrange for someone to deal quickly with their correspondence. Failure to respond may have very serious consequences.

6th November (12:00) CAO online application facility opens.
The HEAR application facility also becomes available for CAO applicants.
1st February (17:00) Closing date for CAO applications.
February CAO will send a reminder e-mail to those that have indicated HEAR in their online application. They will be notified of the closing date for completion of the online HEAR form.
1st March (17:00) Closing date for final completion of the online HEAR application form.
March CAO will acknowledge receipt of your online HEAR application by e-mail and remind you that your application is not complete until you submit your supporting documents.
15th March (17:00) Latest date for HEAR supporting documents to arrive in CAO.
Before End of May CAO Statement of Application Record sent to all applicants.
(Contact CAO if you do not receive it)
April-June Screening of HEAR applications.
End of June Applicants notified of outcome of HEAR Application; HEAR Review and Appeals process opens.
2nd July (17:00) HEAR application Review and Appeals deadline.
Early August HEAR Review and Appeals applicants notified of eligibility.
Round 1 offers.
Round 1 Acceptances closing date.
Round 2 offers.
September HEIs begin registration and successful HEAR applicants must attend Compulsory orientation programme.