The Department of Social Protection administers the Back to Education Allowance. The approved full time education course must lead to a higher qualification on the National Framework Qualifications (NFQ) other than that already held.
There are two education options available.
- Second level option
- Third level option
Second Level Option (SLO)
You can attend a second level course of education at any community, comprehensive, secondary or vocational school, with which the Department of Education and Skills has a funding relationship.
The course must be full-time and lead to a certificate recognised by the Department of Education and Skills or approved by QQI (formerly FETAC), e.g. Junior Cert., Leaving Cert., Post Leaving Cert or foundation/access courses at Universities or Institutes of Technology or a City and Guilds Certificate.
Third Level Option (TLO)
You can attend a third level course of education at any university, third level college or institution, provided that the course is a full-time day course of study and is approved.
A single Student Grant Scheme replaced the 4 main support schemes for students. Student grants are divided into maintenance grants, fee grants and the postgraduate contribution. A maintenance grant is a contribution towards the student’s living costs. A fee grant can cover all or part of a student’s tuition fees (unless covered by the Free Fees Scheme).
There is detailed information on the range of grants and funds for students in further and higher education on the website www.studentfinance.ie.
Payment on the BTEA
The Back to Education Allowance will only be paid for the 9-month academic year for those in receipt of Jobseekers payments. It is NOT payable for the 3- month summer period between academic years. BTEA participants who are unable to find employment during the summer period may be entitled to claim a jobseeker payment. They will be required to satisfy the normal qualifying conditions.
People getting a Back to Education Allowance cannot work full-time and are not eligible for Community Employment, Social Economy Programme, Tús, Rural Social Scheme, any other FET or Fáilte Ireland training programmes, Part-time Job Incentive Scheme or any other employment or training scheme or programme operated by the National Learning Network.
People getting a Back to Education Allowance are not eligible for Working Family Payment (WFP).
Who is eligible for the Back to Education Allowance?
You will be eligible for the Back to Education Allowance if you are:
- Aged 21 or over and in receipt of one of the qualifying payments, or
- Aged 18 or over and in receipt of a (specified) disability payment, or
- Aged between 18 and 21 years of age and out of formal education for at least two years,
- Awarded Statutory Redundancy payment and are entitled to one of the qualifying Social Welfare payments
Assessment of Income from part-time Employment
Since the 2016/2017 academic year, people getting BTEA who take up work during the academic year will be assessed under the rules (including means assessment) that apply to their primary payment – the payment they qualified for BTEA from. This only applies to new applicants or people who return to BTEA after a break.