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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 Refugees, Asylum Seekers 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. The Programme currently supports 50 students across University Access, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes.

Universities of Sanctuary Logo

Applicant Information

Sanctuary Scholarship Programme Information Webinar Slides

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
  • A dedicated support worker within 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
(>45 km) 
€5,915 €2,957.50
(<45 km)
€2,875 €1,437.50

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?

Number of scholarships to be confirmed*

These places will be awarded as follows:

Programme Type

Sanctuary Programme Places
(Subject to change, based on application numbers)

University Access Programme 4
Open Learning Programme 1
Undergraduate Degree Programmes 7
Graduate Degree Programmes (NFQ Level 9) 4 (2 for incoming students, 2 for current progressing students)

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

  • have either 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 45km of the UCD Belfield Campus

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. refugee, asylum seeker etc...) in your course 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 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 
  2. Submit the following Supporting Documentation: 
    1. Income Declaration form for Sanctuary Programme
    2. Relevant financial documentation as outlined on the Income Declaration Form (e.g. add 2020 Statement from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection [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 (INIS) Person ID Number

Application Timeline

  • The deadline for receipt of online applications and supporting documentation will be Thursday 30th June 2022 at 12:00pm.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Outcomes will be communicated by email in mid-August/in line with the course offers timeline.

Privacy Statement | Download document with Terms and Conditions for 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 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 all@ucd.ie, referencing the Sanctuary Programme.