Accessibility     Accessibility |
My DCU | Library | Loop |

Access Service

Access Service

About Us

From humble beginnings…

DCU’s location is quite unique, servicing radically different neighbourhoods, incorporating some of Ireland’s most affluent communities and some of the country's most disadvantaged.

From its inception as a small technological university DCU has sought to actively engage and provide equal access to all groups within the wider community. 

In 1989 as a fledgling University, DCU’s Governing Body voted in favour of implementing a local initiative aimed at addressing the low numbers of students entering third-level from one of its closest neighbourhoods in North Dublin – Ballymun. Through successful partnership with a number of key community groups in the local area, the Ballymun Initiative for Third Level Education (BITE) was founded. In 1990, six students entered DCU through the BITE initiative. Today, over 1,300 Access Scholars, representing every county in Ireland, are studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level across the University.

DCU Access Impact Report 2017/2018

The DCU Access Impact Report for the academic year 2017/2018 is available for download.

DCU Access Outreach and Engagement Strategy 2016-2020

The DCU Access Outreach strategy was approved by senior management,  the HEA (Higher Education Authority and the DES (The Department of Education and Science) in April 2016 for further details please click here


DCU is Home to Ireland’s Largest Higher Education Access Programme!

Our Mission

‘Harnessing the unique resources and support of the wider DCU Community, the DCU Access Service, informed by research and nearly thirty years of practice, seeks to work in partnership with Educators, Government, Third Sector Organisations and the Corporate World to increase access to and progression from higher education for students from underrepresented groups, at local, regional and national level’.

How we do it

The work of the DCU Access Service can be broadly divided into four key areas. These are:

1.     DCU Access Outreach Programme

Provides support to DEIS Schools, Communities and Access eligible individuals in North Dublin through the U & University, UniTY, and UFirst programmes. Click here for more information.

2.     Entry Routes for Leaving Cert Students

Facilitates three separate Entry Routes through which Leaving Certificate students can apply to study at DCU on an Access Scholarship. These are: Access DCU, HEAR and DCU Accelerator. Click here for more information.

3.     Support to Access Scholars in DCU

Provide a host of financial, academic, professional & personal development supports to over 1,000 Access Scholars studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level in DCU. Click here for more information.

4.     Conduct / Commission Research

Conduct and commission research which helps inform our work, creates best practice and impacts upon the wider national and international Access Agenda.

Who we Target

All students under the age of 23 who have completed a Leaving Certificate and are from one of the following target groups:

  • Students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds living in Ireland
  • 1st generation students with no history of 3rd level education in the family
  • Students residing in North Dublin in communities with lowest progression to third level education
  • Students experiencing double disadvantage (disability and socio-economic disadvantage)
  • Working class boys
  • Young people in the care of the State
  • Young carers
  • Members of the Traveller community.
Key Facts
  • DCU has the oldest and largest Higher Education Access Programme in Ireland.
  • The Programme is built on 29 Years of experience informed by practitioner led research.
  • 93% of Access students who enter DCU complete third level education.
  • Over the past 10 years, 92% of Access graduates achieved a 1st or 2nd class honours degree. From 2011 to 2018 this figure has increased to 97-98%.
  • The employment rates for DCU Access graduates is 96% with 85% of Access graduates employed in an area directly related to their degree.
  • There are 1,300 Access students currently studying in DCU with 320 students entering first year in 2018.
  • 10,000 primary and secondary school students in the North Dublin Region, partake in Access DCU initiatives yearly.

Journalism student Hannah Kelly describes how DCU’s Access programme helped her.

Data Protection Notice

Personal information that you submit to the Access Office in connection with any service provision will be treated in accordance with the DCU Data Protection Policy.

The University shall only process such information in line with the purpose for which you provide it and to the extent necessary to provide you with the information or service you require.

The personal data may be disclosed to staff and agents of the University in order to support services to you. In addition, personal data may be disclosed to government departments, statutory bodies and funding agencies where this is required under legislation or for the provision of services.  

In order to ensure our records are correct we urge you to answer all relevant questions accurately. If your personal details should change please let us know so that we can update our records.


How can we help