What courses does the 'Free Fees Scheme' actually cover?
A recent query related to the question of tuition fees in colleges that use the CAO, and it is one that comes up from time to time -- Are all courses listed in the CAO handbook covered by the Free Tuition Fees scheme?
The answer is that they are not. As CAO explains, the "Free Fees Scheme" may not apply to all applicants, to all courses, or to all colleges.
What is called the "Free Tuition Fees Scheme" usually covers first time Irish or other EU undergraduates on approved full-time courses in publicly funded colleges, although it will not cover students who may be repeating a year of their degree programme, or students who are taking a second undergraduate degree.
It does not cover evening degree programmes where they occur, nor does it usually cover higher education courses of less than two years' duration."
This year, the National College of Ireland, whose full time undergraduate courses are covered by the free fees scheme, have introduced one new course, a full time three year degree in Psychology, which its prospectus described as "self funding", in other words, it is not covered by the scheme.
Courses in the independent private colleges who participate in CAO are not covered by the free fees scheme.
As most students know, even within the free scheme they must pay a student contribution charge, which rose this year to €2,000 per annum.
The busiest period of open days is beginning to wind down.
Today, Cavan Institute, Cavan, is one of the largest colleges of FE in the country. The Institute offers over 60 courses, and information will be available on courses, qualifications, students' financial issues, available grants, progression routes and employment opportunities.
Tomorrow, two higher education institutions (HEIs) in Sligo, the Institute of Technology, and St Angela's College, both host open days, from 10.00am-2pm in IT Sligo, and 10am-3pm in St Angela's.
A free shuttle bus will operate between the two colleges.
Sligo College of Further Education, which is located beside IT Sligo, also hosts an open day tomorrow, featuring its range of PLC courses.
On tomorrow evening, NUI Galway holds an information evening for prospective students and their parents, in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny, Co Donegal from 7pm-9pm; and Ormonde College of Further Education, Kilkenny hosts an information evening (24th) in the college from 7pm-9pm.
On Friday next, November 25, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) host an open day in its Letterfrack campus.
Letterfrack is the location for GMIT's Furniture Design and Manufacture, Furniture and Wood Technology, and Design and Technology programmes.
On Friday and Saturday next, November 25 and 26, three HEIs host their annual open days: NUI Maynooth and St Patrick's College, Pontifical University, Maynooth (which share the same campus), on Friday from 9.30am-2.30pm, and on Saturday 26 from 10.30am-3.30pm; and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin (on Friday 25 from 10am-4pm, and on Saturday 26 from 11am-3pm)
Also on Saturday (26th), All Hallows College, Gracepark Rd, Dublin 9, hosts its open day from 12 noon-3pm.
All Hallows, a recognised college of DCU, offers degree programmes in Theology with Philosophy, or Psychology, or English Literature.
On Tuesday, November 29, Shannon College of Hotel Management, Shannon, Co Clare holds an open evening from 4.30pm-7.30pm.