Ireland has a very wide range of scholarships available to students who wish to study in Ireland. Some of these are aimed at local students who come from poor backgrounds and who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend university. Others are aimed at ensuring that academic excellence is achieved through the attraction of some of the brightest and best students from across the world.
There is a great variety of scholarships available for studying in Ireland. Unlike other countries, there is no central granting institution and each individual scholarship organisation will grant their own scholarships. The criteria for eligibility for each scholarship is set independently by the granting organisation and may cover a number of areas. The most common eligibility criteria are related to income and financial background, although this is solely for local students, and excellence within a research field, which may also be combined with having a particular nationality. There are also scholarships available within specific research disciplines that both national and international students may apply for.
Many of the scholarships available are provided by the universities themselves, but there are also national government scholarships available as well as some that are funded by research bodies. In many cases, scholarships can only be applied for after accepting an offer from a specific university, however there are differences between scholarship schemes that are well explained on a number of websites related to studying in Ireland.
The majority of scholarships available are merit scholarships that are based on past academic performance. The Irish academic community actively encourages international students to come and study in Ireland and scholarships are available from both Irish universities themselves as well as through Government schemes. The main conditions for getting a scholarship is through proof of academic excellence, the writing of a personal statement indicating future plans and also the prior winning of an offer of a place at an Irish university.
The Free Fees scheme is available to all EU students who are applying for their first undergraduate course and who have resided in the EU for at least 3 of the last 5 years and who are enrolling on a course that will last at least 2 years.
There are a large number of local scholarships available for foreign students to study in Ireland. These are a mixture of Government and private scholarships as well as the EU Free Fees scheme for EU students studying in Ireland. Each scholarship is administered by the awarding institution so there is no central awarding body, which means that using online resources is key to finding all relevant scholarship sources and information on eligibility criteria and application processes.
Typical scholarships in Ireland pay for undergraduate fees, through the Free Fees scheme for EU students and also through annual scholarships of varying amounts awarded by Government, university or research bodies. There are also additional schemes in place for postgraduate students that include studentships that fund a student throughout the course of a PhD based on academic merit.