Student Financial Support

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Student Financial Support 2017-04-28T13:19:30+00:00

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Maintenance Grant Scheme

The Department of Education and Skills provides a means-tested maintenance grant for learners attending full-time Further Education courses. Information regarding eligibility and application details is available at www.susi.ie.

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VTOS – Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme

The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people.

This scheme allows successful applicants to keep their Social Welfare Allowances while attending their course in the college.

All full time day courses in Cork College of Commerce are eligible for VTOS.

To qualify for VTOS applicants must be over 21 years of age and have been receiving social welfare benefits for at least 156 days (6 months).

You may qualify for VTOS if you are unemployed and receiving any of the following benefits for at least 6 months:

  • Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit.
  • One Parent Family Allowance.
  • Blind Pension
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance; Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension; Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension
  • Prisoner’s Spouse Allowance.
  • An Adult Dependent on a person in receipt of Unemployment Assistance.
  • A person on Disability Allowance.
  • A person on Illness Benefit (you must apply to the Exemption Section, Dept of Social, Community & Family Affairs, Store St. Dublin 1 for an exemption to attend the course).

Please note: Places are LIMITED on the VTOS programme and are prioritised on the basis of:

  1. Educational need
  2. Period of time in receipt of Social Welfare payments

To apply for VTOS in this College:

  1. Complete the College Enrolment Procedure.
  2. A VTOS Application Form (PDF – 218KB) is also filled out with a passport size photograph included.
    i) Complete Part 1, 2 and 3 of the VTOS Application Form.
    ii) (Do not complete Part 4 and Do not send the form to Social Welfare).
  3. Return the form to Cork College of Commerce VTOS Office, Room G33, Ground Floor.
  4. The closing date for receipt of VTOS applications forms is September 4th 2017. Any Application Form received after this date will be treated as a late application.

If you fail to get a place on the VTOS programme, you may apply for Back-to-Education-Allowance through your Social Welfare Office.

What Benefits will VTOS participants obtain?

From January 1st 2013, VTOS participants who move from jobseeker’s payments will no longer have their new payments increased to the maximum €188 per week, in cases where their current jobseeker’s payment is less than this. People under 25 however will continue to receive a top-up rate of up to €160 per week. This will apply to new participants only.

Participants will also receive any secondary benefits they already have, such as:

  • Fuel Allowance
  • Rent Allowance
  • Mortgage Interest Supplements

Other Supports include:

  • No Course Fees
  • Access to Text Books and Materials at the start of the course

Depending on your individual circumstances you may also be eligible for:

  • Meal Allowance
  • Travel Allowance (if you are staying more than 3 miles from the college while attending)
  • Free childcare place for your child under the Childcare Employment and Training Support (CETS)

It was announced in Budget 2014 that the €20.00 weekly training allowance if you are on Social Welfare benefits for a year or more immediately before starting on the VTOS programme is being discontinued for new participants.

More detailed information about the rates of payment for VTOS participants can be found on the Department of Social Protection website www.welfare.ie.

Please note that since Budget 2010, people in receipt of VTOS or Back-to-Education Allowance will not be eligible for Student Maintenance Grants.

Further Enquiries: Ms. Siobhan Lehane, VTOS Coordinator (021) 4223806, slehane@ccoc.ie

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BTEA – Back to Education Allowance

The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is a scheme for unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities who are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection.

The allowance can be paid to people who wish to undertake approved second or third level courses of education. BTEA is not an unemployment payment. This weekly allowance is not means tested and you can work part-time without affecting your BTEA payment.

Any full time day course provided by Cork College of Commerce is eligible for BTEA as long as the applicant is progressing their level of education qualification i.e. if an applicant has a Level 5 qualification on the National framework of Qualifications (NFQ) they must undertake a course that leads to a Level 6 qualification at least

An applicant will qualify for BTEA if they are at least 21 years of age and in receipt of one of the following benefits for at least 3 months (78 days).

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit
  • Farm Assist
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance or Benefit
  • Widow’s or Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension
  • Prisoners Wife’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement (based on a life Disablement Pension).
  • Or claimed Illness Benefit for two years or more.

However if you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit or One-Parent Family Payment for at least 3 months (78 days) are aged between 18 and 20 and been out of formal education for at least 2 years you may also qualify.

Also if you are 18 or over and getting Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Incapacity Supplement for at least 3 months (78 days) you may similarly qualify.

For current information on the schemes qualifying conditions, please contact your local Social Welfare Office or:

Back to Education Schemes
Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services,
Government Buildings, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
Tel: (071) 96 72698

How do I apply for the Back to Education Allowance?

If you think you are eligible for the BTEA and you have been accepted on an approved course in the College, you should complete the Social Welfare form BTE 1.

The BTE 1 form is available from your local social welfare office. You can access the form directly and print it off by clicking on http://www.welfare.ie/en/forms/documents/bte1.pdf.

Applications for BTEA must be made prior to commencement of an approved course but late applications will be accepted if received within 30 days of the commencement date of the course, provided there are reasonable grounds for doing so.

Further Information is available at www.studentfinance.ie.

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