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Sanctuary Programme

Sanctuary Programme

Two students going down the spiral staircase in the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science


UCD: University for All

UCD is a University for All, where all students belong and feel welcome. Students’ experience, needs, and personal circumstances may vary, but in our diverse learning community, exciting study opportunities await. We offer a range of entry routes, together with personal, financial and academic support. We are committed to ensuring that all students can access, participate and succeed, regardless of background, personal circumstances, age, disability, or pace of study.

UCD was awarded University of Sanctuary status in 2018 and is proud to welcome International Protection Applicants (Asylum Seekers), Refugees and those with Subsidiary Protection or Humanitarian Leave to Remain.

This Programme offers opportunities to study at different levels across UCD and provides free tuition and financial assistance for eligible applicants. 

Universities of Sanctuary Logo

Applicant Information

  • Sanctuary Programme Information session 6pm 24th April.  

Sanctuary Scholarship Information Session April 2024



The Sanctuary Programme provides the following support:

  • Full tuition fee coverage 
  • An annual maintenance payment to help cover some of the costs of study
  • An invitation to the ALL Student Welcome Programme (orientation)
  • Access to our post-entry supports including disability support, social events, as well as academic and financial guidance
  • One to one support is available from UCD Access & Lifelong Learning
How are maintenance payment rates calculated?

The scholarship’s maintenance payment rate is calculated based on students’ home address as well as their status as either full-time or part-time students. 

Annual maintenance payment amounts:

  Full-Time Student Part-Time Student
(>30 km) 
€6,000 €3,000
(<30 km)
€3,000 €1,500

Please note: The maintenance payment for Open Learning students will be on a pro-rata basis, depending on the number of modules taken.

How will the scholarships be allocated?

Below outlines the scholarship allocations. 

Please note allocations and place numbers are subject to change, and are based on application numbers and support for continuing scholars. 

Programme Type

Sanctuary Programme Places
(Subject to change, based on application numbers and support for continuing students)

University Access Programme 6
Open Learning Programme 4
(opens in a new window)Undergraduate Degree Programmes 10
Graduate Degree Programmes (NFQ Level 9) 7

To be considered for one of these scholarships you need to:

  • have either International Protection (Asylum Seeker), Refugee, Subsidiary Protection, or Leave to Remain (except deportation stage) status and not be eligible for other state support
  • have already applied to a course at UCD
Priority will be given to:
  • Applicants who have lived in Ireland for more than 12 months
  • Applicants living in Direct Provision centres
  • Applicants who have completed the UCD University Access Programme or who are progressing from UCD Open Learning
  • Applicants progressing from a UCD undergraduate programme to a professional Masters programme
  • Applicants living within 30km of the UCD Belfield Campus
  • Applicants with reckonable income of €26,200 or less
  • Applicants who are on the (opens in a new window)International Protection Priority list

This scheme is only intended for applicants who are not eligible for state fee support. For more information on state fee support, please see below.

To apply for the Sanctuary Programme you must first apply to a course at UCD

  • Your course application and scholarship application will be assessed entirely independently of one another.
  • For details on how to apply to a course at UCD, please see the UCD Admissions Website.
  • You should indicate your status (e.g. international protection, refugee etc...) in your sanctuary scholarship application.
  • Applying to or being awarded a Sanctuary Programme place does not make you exempt from the general entry requirements of a course. All entry requirements must still be met, this includes the English language requirements of the course. 

For further information or for help with applying to a course please contact us at (opens in a new window)all@ucd.ie

Once you have applied to a course at UCD, you can then make a separate application for the Sanctuary Programme
How to Apply
  1. Complete an Online Application Form: Applications, Cothrom na Féinne - Sanctuary Programme 
    • You can access the application form on the UCD Scholarship Application System - applications for the 2024 Sanctuary Programme are now open. 
    • Login to your UCD Connect account (You should have created this when applying for a course at UCD).
    • Once you have logged in click on start a new application.
    • Then click on the application tab at the top of the page.
    • Click on Cothrom Na Feinne Scholarship Applications.
    • Click Cothrom Na Feinne Sanctuary Scholarship, you should then be able to start your application. Download: Step by step instructions on how to apply
  2. Submit the following Supporting Documentation: 
    1. Sanctuary Programme Income Declaration (See Below)
    2. Relevant financial documentation as outlined on the Income Declaration Form (e.g. add 2023 Statement from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection [(opens in a new window)view example])
    3. Copy of a Department of Justice and Equality letter confirming your permission to reside in Ireland OR a copy of a document containing your Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (opens in a new window)(INIS) Person ID Number

Application Timeline

  • Applications for the 2024 are now open.
  • Closing date for Full Time and Post Graduate Applicants is 31st July 2024.
  • Closing date for part time, Open Learning and University Access Applicants is 4th September 2024. 
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Outcomes will be communicated by email.

Privacy Statement_UCD Sanctuary Programme 

The Sanctuary Programme at UCD is intended only for those who are not eligible for state fee support. If you are applying to an undergraduate course and you think you might be eligible for state fee support then you should pursue this option instead of this scholarship.

What is meant by state fee support?

Generally, this means that your fees are covered under the Free Fees Initiative and that you can apply for (opens in a new window)the SUSI grant.

How do I know if I am eligible for state fee support?

There are two main criteria for state fee support eligibility: Your length of residency in the EU and your status type. 

You can Check Your Fee Status Online

Length of Residency

You need to have been tax resident in the EU for at least 3 of the last 5 years, prior to starting a course at UCD and be able to demonstrate this. You can demonstrate this by, for example, providing evidence of a Welfare payment for 3 of the last 5 years. 

If you have been in education for 3 of the last 5 years, a letter from the relevant institution stating dates of attendance would also be sufficient.  


You will also need to have a letter from INIS confirming that you come under at least one of the following categories:

  • You have official Refugee status in the Republic of Ireland
  • You are a family member of official refugees who are granted permission by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to enter the Republic of Ireland and to reside in the Republic of Ireland
  • You have leave to reside in the Republic of Ireland on humanitarian grounds i.e. "Humanitarian leave to remain in the State”
  • You have permission to remain in the Republic of Ireland as a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and have the classification "4EUFam" on your GNIB card
  • The Minister for Justice has granted you permission to remain following a determination not to make a deportation order
  • You were granted ‘subsidiary protection with permission to reside in the State’

Check Your Fee Status

If you are unsure of something or need help at any stage of the application process, please get in touch with us by emailing (opens in a new window)all@ucd.ie, referencing the Sanctuary Programme.