Hear Scheme

Supplementary Admissions Procedure for Applicants who are socio-economically disadvantaged

As a means of widening participation in 3rd level, the Pontifical University, Maynooth and other participating colleges have developed a range of initiatives including supplementary admissions routes to education.

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is an admissions scheme to promote equity of access to higher education for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds

This scheme has been established as clear evidence shows that socio-economic background can have a negative impact on educational attainment at school and progression to higher education.

All applicants applying for full-time undergraduate degrees of the Pontifical Universitywho wish to be considered for a HEAR place must apply to the HEAR scheme via the Central Applications Office (CAO).

Access Office
The Pontifical University has close links with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The two universities share the same campus and co-operate in a number of important academic programmes.

The Pontifical University, Maynooth and NUI Maynooth share the same facilities on campus.  The NUIM Access Office caters for students of the National University of Ireland Maynooth and for students of the Pontifical University, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

The HEAR scheme will operate as follows:

  • Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie as part of the CAO application process by 1 February indicating Pontifical University, Maynooth as a college choice.
  • Applicants must complete the separate online HEAR Application Form which will ask them to provide additional information on their family’s financial situation, employment status of parents and school(s) attended
  • Section A – Complete the online HEAR Application Form by the 1st February.
  • Section B – Applicants must return to the CAO the required supporting documentation. All documents must be appropriately verified and returned to the CAO by the 1st April. For further information on supporting documentation see http://accesscollege.ie.

Applicants must submit all of the required supporting documentation to the CAO by 1st April.

For further information on the HEAR scheme see http://accesscollege.ie

ELIGIBILITY – Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)


Applicants are deemed eligible for consideration under the HEAR scheme if the following criteria are met:

  • Student has applied through the CAO to the HEAR scheme by 1st February and has submitted all required supporting documentation to the CAO by 1st April.
  • Appropriate supporting documentation provided is verified and applicant meets the low family income indicator plus a combination of two other indicators (minimum). For a detailed description of HEAR indicators please see http://accesscollege.ie
  • Eligible applicants must satisfy (i) the HEAR criteria plus (ii) Pontifical University matriculation requirements & any specific course requirements:

1) Grade H5 or higher in 2 Higher Level subjects & Grade O6/H7 or higher in 4 Ordinary or Higher Level Subjects including English, Irish and a third language.

2) Any specific subject requirements for the course (e.g. Music requires a H5.)

Please see our prospectus for course requirements: Prospectus 2017


  • Applicants must have attained at least 300 points in their best six Leaving Certificate subjects.
  • The maximum Leaving Certificate concession for eligible applicants is 30 points.
  • Where demand for places exceeds the number of places available, places will be awarded on the basis of academic merit.
  • Appropriate orientation programmes for students will be provided and will take place prior to the College’s general orientation programme. Attendance at this orientation (Launchpad) for students who are offered a place through the HEAR scheme is compulsory.

Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) – Quota of places available:

  • 4% of 1st year intake at the Pontifical University, Maynooth will be available to students (combined merit and reduced points places).