Please note: 

​The quickest way to access funding from the SAF is from the SAF Means Tested Fund. You can check  your eligibility to apply to the Means Tested Fund below. You can apply to this Fund once in 2022/23. 

If you are not eligible for the Means Tested Fund or if you have been funded from it already this academic year, check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund below and follow the steps set out. 

While applications are currently being accepted for SAF, if approved for funding payments will not resume until end January 2023. 

The Student Assistance Fund 2022-23 

 

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is one of a number of sources of funding to which Maynooth University students can apply. It is ​designed to help students meet some of the extra costs associated with being at university. The purpose of the SAF is to support students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are under-represented in higher education and who have temporary or ongoing needs for financial support; and to provide emergency financial assistance for other students experiencing exceptional financial difficulties. 

There are new SAF funding streams for 2022/23. Please read the criteria carefully and ensure you apply to the correct Fund. If you are unsure, check Which Fund should I apply to?  
For 2022/23 we have introduced the SAF Means Tested Fund, which allows students most in need to access a set payment of €400. You must be eligible and you must provide the correct supporting documents - see the criteria below. The application process is easy - an online application form (see below), you'll then be prompted to upload supporting documents. No meeting is required with the Student Budgeting Advisor (SBA). If you are eligible for the Means Tested Fund, you should apply to it before you consider the SAF Exceptional Fund. Students who are eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund (see below) are not eligible this year for the SAF Means Tested Fund.  The SAF Exceptional Fund requires a meeting with the SBA and extra supporting documents. When the SAF Means Tested Fund closes, students who would be eligible for it can apply instead to the SAF Exceptional Fund.

Read the criteria below and if you have any queries, you can contact the SAF team at saf@mu.ie. Applications will generally be treated on a first completed, first served basis. When funds are fully disbursed, no more awards will be made regardless of eligibility.  
 

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF)

What are the basic eligibility requirements for SAF?

Which SAF fund should I apply to?

SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND

SAF MEANS TESTED FUND

SAF EXCEPTIONAL FUND

Apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund

Apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the SAF

 

 

 

What are the basic eligibility requirements for SAF?

Who can apply to the Student Assistance Fund?

You must be one of the following:

  • A full-time OR part-time undergraduate student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick's Pontifical University Maynooth, registered for a course of not less than one year’s duration that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications.
  • A post-graduate student at Maynooth University or St. Patrick's Pontifical University Maynooth registered for a course of not less than one year’s duration that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications. This includes students studying for a Professional Master of Education (Primary) or a Professional Master of Education (Secondary).
  • A repeating student from the above specified categories.
  • A student who is Irish, EU, EEA, Swiss or UK and who is eligible for free or reduced fees in line with the criteria for the Free Fees Initiative, may be considered for SAF subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria.
  • A student on a Springboard+ course, or on a blended/distance learning course of not less than one year’s duration, that leads to a higher education award at Level 6 to 10 of the national framework of qualifications. This year the Springboard+ courses at Maynooth University are the H. Dip. In Science (Software Development) and the H. Dip in Data Analytics.
  • A PhD student (PhD students in years 1-4 are eligible; PhD students in year 5 or higher will be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • A student who entered Maynooth University through the HEAR entry route.
  • Students with a previous higher education qualification at the same NFQ level, or who, in the past, attended higher education without ultimately obtaining a qualification, will be considered on a case-by-case basis and subject to available funding, subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria.
  • Persons qualified for protection under Section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015 (including Ukrainian students who are currently registered as Higher Education Students, on approved courses or authorised transition arrangements in approved publicly funded institutions in Ireland). To qualify, the student must have been granted permission to reside in the State by the Minister for Justice pursuant to section 60 of the International Protection Act 2015).The student must be present, and residing at an address in the State, and attending, or intending to pursue, an approved course in the 2022-23 academic year.
  • Irish Nationals who were attending a Higher Education Institution in Ukraine during the 2021/2022 academic year; and have now returned to Ireland due to the conflict, are now residing at an address in the State and enrolled on an authorised transition programme during 2022/2023.

Who cannot apply to the SAF?

  • Incoming Erasmus students. Erasmus students are advised to contact their home university.
  • International students. Emergency funding may be possible in exceptional circumstances only. Incoming international students are advised to contact the International Office and/or the Student Budgeting Advice service.
  • Students who have completed an undergraduate degree Masters programme or PhD and are undertaking a second qualification at the same level. However, in exceptional circumstances students will be considered.
  • PhD students who are over 4 years with Maynooth University will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Students of Divinity at St. Patrick’s Pontifical University Maynooth should contact fees@spcm.ie.
 


 

Which SAF fund should I apply to?

There are 3 SAF Funds. The SAF Fund you may apply to depends on your course year, entry route, course level and any previous SAF funding received in this academic year:

  • The SAF HEAR / Access Fund : If you are eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund you will be contacted directly by the Maynooth University Access Programme (MAP) to confirm your eligibility for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund. Check for an email sent to you from saf@mu.ie on 26/10/22 or 27/10/22 or check the full criteria below.
  • The SAF Means Tested Fund: this Fund is aimed at students with a family income under €40,875 in 2021 and who are not eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund. Check the full criteria below before you apply for the SAF Means Tested Fund. If you are eligible for this Fund, you should apply to it before considering the SAF Exceptional Fund. You can apply to this Fund once per academic year. When all funds are distributed no more awards will be made, regarless of eligibility.
  • The SAF Exceptional Fund: this Fund is aimed at students who are not eligible for the SAF Means Tested Fund or who have been previously funded in 2022/23 from any SAF fund, but who have additional pressing financial needs. When the Means Tested Fund is closed, students who would be eligible for it can apply instead to the SAF Exceptional Fund. Check the full critiera below for the SAF Exceptional Fund.
  • Contact the Student Assistance Fund team with any questions. Please note that funding is not guaranteed. Funds can only be disbursed where applications are correctly completed and while funding is available. When funds are fully disbursed, no more awards will be made regardless of eligibility.
 


 

SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND - 

Students from groups which are underrepresented in higher education are prioritised for funding support. Your eligibility for this fund will be confirmed by email from the Student Assistance Fund team at Maynooth University Access Programme (MAP). You will only be eligible to apply to this Fund once in your academic career. There are strict deadlines for completing the application form which will be set out in the email. The SAF HEAR/Access Fund is now open. If you think you may be eligible for this fund, check for an email sent to your official university email address from saf@mu.ie  on 26/10/22 - 27/10/22. 

The following target group students are eligible to apply for the SAF HEAR/Access fund and will get the following awards:

  • HEAR entry students in 1st year of an undergraduate course who have attended Launchpad orientation for access students (€1,000, paid as €500 in Semester 1 and €500 in Semester 2).
  • Turn to Teaching entry students progressing to 1st year of an undergraduate or PME course who have attended Launchpad orientation for access students (€1,000, paid as €500 in Semester 1 and €500 in Semester 2).
  • Repeating students in the above categories with exceptional circumstances for repeating (€500 paid in Semester 1).
  • For 2022/23 only: HEAR entry students in 3rd year or 4th year of an undergraduate course (for the first time) who had more than 4 HEAR indicators and who attended Launchpad orientation on entry to university (€500 paid in Semester 1). 

Eligible for this fund? All HEAR and progressed Turn To Teaching entry students will be contacted by the Student Assistance Fund team in October to inform them of their eligibility status for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund. If you are confirmed to be eligible for this Fund, you will be invited to complete a short application form. If not eligible for this fund you will be given information on other funds. Check for the email issued from saf@mu.ie on 26/10/22 - 27/10/22. 
 
What happens after I apply to the SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND and how much will I get if approved?

  1. MAP will confirm your eligibility and will invite you to complete a short application form by a strict deadline. Repeating 1st year HEAR students will be required to take a call/meet online with a MAP Advisor to determine their eligibility. This process will bve initiated by an email from the SAF team. 
  2. When your eligibility and registration is confirmed, your application will be progressed to the Student Assistance Fund committee for approval, and you will be notified of when the payment will reach your account.
  3. There are set awards for this Fund: students eligible for the payment of €1,000 will receive €500 in Semester 1 (mid Nov) and €500 in Semester 2 (mid Feb); students eligible for the payment of €500 will be paid in Semester 1 (mid Nov).
  4. You can contact saf@mu.ie or your MAP Advisor if you are having difficulty completing the application form. If you do not submit your application within the deadlines or do not contact the Student Assistance Fund team about your application, you will receive a reminder email after 2 weeks. If you do not progress your application, it will be closed after 4 weeks.

Additional information relevant to SAF HEAR/ACCESS FUND applicants:

  • Already applied to this fund this year/already been paid from this fund this year, but now need more financial aid? You are not eligible for the SAF Means Tested Fund this year. Check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund. You can apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund in a year that you are not eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund.
  • ​​Already been paid from this fund in a previous academic career, but now need more financial aid? Check your eligibility for the SAF Means Tested Fund and/or the SAF Exceptional Fund.
  • Need more or other advice/guidance? You can avail of the Student Budgeting Advice Service for advice on finances, welfare, SUSI and funding guidance. You can also contact the Student Assistance Fund team at saf@mu.ie .
  • Received the email confirming you as eligible for the HEAR/Access Fund but haven’t applied yet/ can’t find the email? Contact saf@mu.ie.
  • Haven’t received an email from the Student Assistance Fund team yet but think you might be eligible for this Fund? If you think you might be eligible (e.g. you were a late HEAR entrant to university/got an offer after Round 2/were a deferral from last year) but have not received an email by late October, check your spam/junk folder in your official @mumail.ie inbox for the email, then contact saf@mu.ie

 

 


 

SAF MEANS TESTED FUND - This fund has NOW RE-OPENED for applications.

APPLY HERE TO THE SAF MEANS TESTED FUND 2022/23 -

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you can apply for the SAF Means Tested Fund once in each academic year and on approval, you receive a set award of €400. This amount has been set in light of  changes to SUSI announced in budget 2023 which mean that students in receipt of a maintenance grant should receive an additional SUSI payment in December. You can only apply to the Means Tested Fund once per academic year.  Awards may be prioritised based on membership of National Access Plan target groups. When all funds are disbursed, no more awards will be made regardless of eligibility. When this fund is closed, students who would be eligible for it can apply instead to the SAF Exceptional Fund.

Who can apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund?
The following criteria determine your eligibility to apply for the SAF Means Tested Fund. If you are not eligible for this Fund, check your eligibilty for the SAF HEAR Access/Fund or the SAF Exceptional Fund.

  1. You fulfil the SAF basic eligibility requirements covering residency status in Ireland, level of course, duration of course etc.  Please check the basic eligibility requirements.
  2. Your family income was under €40,875 in 2021
  3. You are not eligible this year for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund
  4. You are not in receipt of a Bursary or Scholarship worth €2,000 per year or more.
  5. You do not have a previous qualification at the same or higher level as the course you are currently studying for e.g. you are studying for a Level 8 Hons undergraduate degree and you do not have a previous degree at Level 8 or higher.
  6. You are not a Ph.D student in year 5 or higher.

If you cannot answer Yes to pt. 1 above, you cannot apply for any stream of funding from the Student Assistance Fund. If you cannot answer Yes to any of the points at 2-6 above, you are not eligible for the SAF Means Tested Fund but check if you are eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund or the SAF Exceptional Fund.

If your application to the SAF Means Tested Fund is approved, you will receive €400.
You must provide evidence that your family income is under the Means Tested income threshold of €40,875. You will be prompted later in the application stage to upload your supporting documents via a secure upload link:

  • Students who are not in receipt of SUSI can do this by providing evidence that their gross family income was under €40,875 in 2021. See the SAF Means Tested Supporting Documents Checklist.
  • Students who are in receipt of SUSI can show that they are under the income threshold if they are in receipt of one of these levels of SUSI award in the current academic year:

Levels of SUSI Award:

Find all 3 pages of your SUSI letter in the correspondence section of your online SUSI account. Your SUSI letter may be password protected - you will need to upload a copy without a password or upload your password via the secure link you will be provided with.

Undergrad SUSI Award 2022/233 showing Gross Income <€40,875 in 2021 Postgrad SUSI Award 2022/23 showing Gross Income <€40,875 in 2021
Special Rate Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€2575 per year paid as €286 per month
Postgrad Special Rate Adjacent:
€2575 per year paid as €286 per month
Special Rate Non-Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€6115 per year paid as €679 per month
Postgrad Special Rate Non-Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€6115 per year paid as €679 per month
Band 1 (Full Maintenance) Adjacent including Student Contribution paid –
€1415 per year paid as €157 per month
Postgraduate Fee Contribution (€3,500 pre-budget 2022/€4,500 post budget 2022) AND household income is under €40,875 in 2021
(Note: to get this award from SUSI the household income can be higher than €40,875)
Band 1 (Full Maintenance) Non-Adjacent including Student Contribution paid:
€3225 per year paid as €358 per month
 

If you are on a different level of SUSI award to the awards on this table, your family income is not under the threshold for the SAF Means Tested Fund. See Additional information relevant to SAF Means Tested Fund applicants below. Find all 3 pages of your SUSI letter in the correspondence section of your online SUSI account.

What happens after I apply to  the SAF MEANS TESTED Fund?

  1. You will receive a confirmation email to your official university address.

  2. Your application will then be verified for eligibility, and you will be sent an email asking you to upload any required documents using a secure upload link– see the SAF Means Tested Supporting Documents Checklist. Do not email your confidential documents. 

  3. If your documents are correct, your application will be progressed to the Student Assistance Fund committee for approval, and you will be notified of the outcome.

  4. If your documents are not correct, you will be contacted by email and advised on what to do next.

  5. There is a set award of €400 if approved for the SAF Means Tested Fund. This amount has been set in light of  changes to SUSI announced in budget 2023 which mean that students in receipt of a maintenance grant should receive an additional SUSI payment in December. 

  6. You can contact saf@mu.ie if you are having difficulty getting the required supporting documents. If you do not upload complete and correct documents or do not contact the Student Assistance Fund team about your application, you will receive a reminder email after 2 weeks. If you do not complete your application, it will be closed after 4 weeks. This does not prevent you applying to the SAF again.

Additional information relevant to SAF Means Tested Fund applicants:

  • In receipt of SUSI but have a different level of award than in the table above?  This means that you are above the income threshold for the SAF Means Tested Fund. If you are eligible for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund, you should complete your application when prompted. You can also check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.
  •  
  • ​In receipt of SUSI and within the income limit for the SAF Means Tested Fund but you are in receipt of a Scholarhsip or Bursary worth €2,000 per year or more (e.g. 1916 Bursary, Kickstart, Túsla Education & Training Bursary, Uversity Scholarship)? Check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.
  • Eligible for the SAF HEAR /Access Fund this year? You should complete your application for the SAF HEAR/Access Fund when prompted. You can also check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.

  • How often can I apply to the SAF Means Tested Fund?  You can only apply once in each academic year to the Means Tested Fund. Check your eligibility for the SAF Exceptional Fund.

  • Need more advice/guidance about your finances? You can avail of the Student Budgeting Advice Service for advice on finances, welfare, SUSI and funding guidance.

  • Have applied but have not received a confirmation email from the Student Assistance Fund team? Check your spam/junk folder in your official @mumail.ie inbox for the email, then contact saf@mu.ie

 

 


 

SAF EXCEPTIONAL FUND

If you are experiencing exceptional financial difficulties, you can apply for the SAF Exceptional Fund. Students who are eligible for the SAF Means Tested Fund or the SAF HEAR Access/Fund should apply to those Funds first. You should only apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund if you have additonal, exceptional college-related costs and/ or  have already applied to the other funds or are not eligible for the other funds. You can apply more than once in each academic year, if funds are available. Awards may be prioritised based on membership of National Access Plan target groups. When funds are fully disbursed, no more awards can be made, regardless of eligibility. To apply, follow the steps below under Making an application to the SAF Exceptional Fund.

Who can apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund?
The following criteria determine your eligibility to apply for the SAF Exceptional Fund. You must:

If your application to the SAF Exceptional Fund is approved, there is no set award; the amount awarded is based on the available funding and your individual circumstances as assessed by the Student Budgeting Advisor and a review of your supporting documents. 

SAF Exceptional Fund Thresholds

You must provide evidence that your gross family income in 2021 was under one of the following thresholds:
 

Number of Dependents
in the family home:
MU SAF Exceptional income limits
(SUSI upper limits +17.5%)
0-3 Dependents in the family home €64,907
4-7 dependents in the family home €71,199
8 or more dependents in the family home €77,197
If there are additional person/s in college in your household you should add this amount per additional person to the relevant income threshold to get the actual income threshold you have to be under e.g. you have 2 siblings in college, add €11,632 to the relevant threshold. €5,816

Note: where there has been a change of circumstances in the family income since 2021 which impacts your ability to meet the income threshold, speak to the Student Budgeting Advisor about this at your consultation.
 

Providing Evidence of Family Income
Students on SUSI:

Provide their SUSI award letter for 2022/23. (Note: If you are in receipt of a SUSI award, check the ‘reckonable income’ on page 3. This is the gross family income for 2021. Find all 3 pages of your SUSI letter in the correspondence section of your online SUSI account.

Students who are not on SUSI:

Students who are not on SUSI must provide evidence that the gross family income was under the relevant SAF Exceptional threshold in 2021. See the SAF Exceptional Fund Supporting Documents Checklist.

 

Making an application to the SAF EXCEPTIONAL FUND

SAF Exceptional Fund is now open for 2022/23 and remains open until the end of April or until all funds are disbursed. When all funds are disbursed no more awards can be made regardless of eligiblity. To apply to the SAF Exceptional Fund you must first complete a booking form for the Student Budgeting Advisor (SBA) and have a consultation with the SBA (online/in-person). An application to the Exceptional Fund involves more time and more supporting documents than applications to the SAF Means Tested Fund so we advised students to apply first, if eligible, to the SAF Means Tested Fund. 

To apply, follow the steps below.

  1. Complete a booking form for the Student Budgeting Advisor (SBA).  This meeting is required as part of the SAF Exceptional application process.
  2. You receive a confirmation email to your official university email address with a link to the SBA calendar, and you select a time to meet with the SBA (online/in-person). If you have difficulty finding an appointment slot, you should check the link to the calendar frequently as new appointment slots are released daily or you can attend the SBA drop-in clinic at 10.30-12.30 Wednesday mornings in the Student Services building. 
  3. Attend your scheduled meeting with the SBA. You may have completed this step already. If you have, the SBA will email you advising you what to do next - you don't have to make another appointment.
  4. Following your meeting with the SBA you may be recommended for support from the SAF Exceptional Fund and/or for other funding options and you will be invited to complete an application form for the SAF Exceptional Fund and/or other fund.
  5. Your application to the SAF Exceptional Fund will be verified for eligibility, and you will be sent an email asking you to upload supporting documents via a secure online link– see the SAF Exceptional Fund Supporting Documents Checklist. Do not email confidential supporting documents.
  6. If your documents are correct, your application will be progressed to the Student Assistance Fund committee for approval, and you will be notified of the outcome.
  7. If your documents are not correct, you will be contacted by email and advised on what to do next.
  8. There is no set award from SAF Exceptional Fund. If approved, the award is based on the circumstances of the individual. The SBA will make a recommendation of an amount and the SAF committee will make the final decision based on all the information submitted in the application.
  9. You can contact saf@mu.ie if you are having difficulty with providing the required supporting documents. If you do not upload complete and correct supporting documents or do not contact the Student Assistance Fund team about your application, you will receive a reminder email after 2 weeks. If you do not complete your application, it will be closed after 4 weeks. This does not prevent you applying to the fund again.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the SAF

Review the SAF FAQ's to find more information about your eligibility, making an application, the outcome and appeals.

For more information on the SAF, you can view the SAF Guidelines Flyer and the Higher Education Authority's SAF page on studentfinance.ie.

 

Government of Ireland and HEA logos

      
The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.