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This section outlines a number of ways that you can return to full-time or part-time education while continuing to get income support. The programmes range from basic foundation courses through to third level postgraduate courses.

Back to Education Allowance

The Back to Education Programme is a scheme for people getting certain  social welfare payments to take an approved second or third level course at a recognised school or college and still receive a payment. Different rules apply to eligibility depending on which payment you are receiving so see information booklet SW 70 or the leaflet relating to your own payment for more details.

Third Level Option

You can attend a third-level course of education at any university, third-level college or institution, provided that the course is a full-time day course of study and is approved by the Department of Education and Science for Higher Education Grant purposes, VEC Scholarship Scheme or the Third Level Maintenance Grant Scheme for Trainees or has Higher Education and Training Awards Council recognition.

Second Level Option

You can attend a second-level course of education at any secondary, community, comprehensive or vocational school. The course must be full-time and to a certificate recognised by the Department of Education and Science or approved by the Further Education and Training Awards Council, e.g., Junior Certificate, Leaving Certificate, Post Leaving Certificate or a City and Guilds Certificate. 

Education, Training and Development (ET&D) Option

If you are getting a jobseeker's payment and your choice of course is not covered under the Back to Education Allowance Scheme, you may keep your jobseeker's payment while doing a course of education, training or development. It must be clear that the course will enhance your employment prospects. A broad range of courses are approved – from basic education to general training or specific job skills.

Part-Time Education Option

The Part-Time Education Option (PTEO) allows you to keep your Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit and attend a part-time day or evening course of education or training.

Social welfare payments and the student grant

Information on claiming a social welfare payment, BTEA and the student grant.

Back to College Initiative for Jobseekers

On June 1st 2010, The Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan T.D. announced that  6,589 training places will be made available to the unemployed under the Labour Market Activation Fund, 2010. A further 5,000 places were announced on August 5th, 2010.

Last modified:19/12/2012

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