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Higher Education Links Scheme

What is the Higher Education Links Scheme?

The Higher Education Links Scheme enables learners who have achieved National Vocational Certification at Level 5 to apply to a higher education place in a range of higher education institutes. Approximately 2,000 places are available on over 250 courses - specific QQI certificates are linked with these higher education courses. See the higher education institutions’ prospectuses for further details.

WHERE CAN I APPLY FOR A COLLEGE PLACE?

Seventeen higher education institutions are partners in the scheme. Discussions are ongoing with the universities with a view to extending the scheme.

HOW DO I APPLY THROUGH THE SCHEME?

  • Applications for a higher education place through the scheme are made using the standard CAO form. Instructions are provided in the current CAO Handbook.
  • Use this Guide to find out:
    (i) the Level 5 National Vocational Certificates that are linked to
    higher education courses (Part 1)
    (ii) the higher education courses that are available in the participating institutions (Part 2)
    (iii) where applicable, modules which must be included in your certificate (Part 2)

It is essential that you verify what QQI Level 5 certificate is required for the college course of your choice. Check certificate and module details with your PLC centre and the participating institutions.

HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?

Higher Education Links Scheme applicants submit their third-level applications to the CAO in the usual way, In July QQI Level 5 
results are issued to the CAO and the participating institutions. Applicants through the scheme are assessed as follows:

  • QQI module is credited, with three points allocated for a distinction, two points allocated for a merit and one point allocated for a pass.
  • All of the points are totalled and applicants are ranked according to this “total grade point” figure.
  • Places are offered in ranked order until the quota is complete for each course.

WHERE CAN I GET FURTHER INFORMATION?

The institutions’ prospectuses provide information on the scheme and the third level courses. The admissions office of the institutions can be contacted directly.