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Back to Education Allowance

If you are unemployed, parenting alone or have a disability and are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection, you may take part in a second-or third-level education course and get a Back to Education Allowance (BTEA).

If you want to do other types of courses not covered under the BTEA, for example, personal development courses or general training courses you may return to education under the Part-time Education option, the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) or the Education, Training and Development option.


In order to qualify for the BTEA scheme it is necessary for a person to be:

  • Attending a recognised course of study at second or third level study option
  • Attending a full-time day course of study in a recognised college
  • A specific age in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a period of time
  • Must be in general commencing the first year of a course of study
  • Since 2016/17, BTEA is only paid for courses that start in Ireland or in Northern Ireland. You can be paid BTEA for a year abroad (for example, under the Erasmus scheme) if the year is an integral or mandatory part of your course. This must be verified by the Registrar or Admissions office of your college.
  • The course must be leading to a progression of qualifications: click here
For more information on the BTEA click here

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