The KickStart Scholarship Fund was established in 2022 by the Irish Probation Service with the support of the Irish Prison Service. It aims to support people with a criminal justice history who face financial challenges in accessing higher education. In September 2022, the scholarship was developed on a pilot basis and offered by Dublin City University, Maynooth University, Dundalk Institute of Technology and Technological University of the Shannon Midlands Midwest, Athlone Campus (MEND Cluster).
Thanks to the continuation of the pilot project for a second year, DCU is offering 2 scholarships for 2023/24, as follows:
- One scholarship of €5000 per year for undergraduate study to a maximum of €20,000 over 4 years for a full-time course, or 6 years for a part-time course.
- One scholarship of €1250 for each year of undergraduate study to a maximum of €5000 over 4 years for a full-time course, or 6 years for a part-time course.
There is a two-stage assessment process of screening and interviews. All applicants will be screened for eligibility and prioritisation. The highest ranked applicants will have their supporting documentation verified and be invited to interview. Each interview panel will select the two successful scholarship awardees. Scholarship awardees must comply with the fund guidelines and progress to the next academic year of their course to retain the scholarship.
Applications are open now and close on Friday, 3 November at 5 pm.
Students who have a criminal record and are experiencing socio-economic disadvantage who are seeking to access Higher Education (HE) are the priority group for this KickStart Scholarship Fund.
- Be new undergraduates who have applied to commence third level education in September 2023.
- Enrol/be enrolled on a full-time or part-time undergraduate course that takes not less than two years to complete and on the successful completion of which an applicant is awarded a major higher education and training award at level 6 or above on the National Framework of Qualifications.
- Be able to show that they have been convicted of a crime which resulted in them currently having a criminal record and have either served time in prison and/or received a community-based Probation sanction which resulted in a criminal record. As the impact of a criminal record is felt for many years after an individual has completed their court ordered sanction, there is no time limit on how recent their convictions were.
- Be able to demonstrate that they would qualify for the Student Universal Grant Scheme (SUSI) maintenance grant on or below €46,790 in 2022 or would qualify for full fees from SUSI with a Department of Social Protection (DSP) long-term means-tested social welfare payment such as Back to Education Allowance.
- Have been resident in the State (Republic of Ireland) for three of the past five years on the date on which their first year of study commences.
- Priority will be given to applicants who are members of one or more of the following priority groups, as this demonstrates the complexity of the intersectionality of an applicant's criminal justice history and socioeconomic disadvantage:
- Applicants who qualify for the special rate of maintenance grant or with an equivalent reckonable income under €25,000 in 2022
- First-time mature applicants
- Further education and training award holders
- Applicants with disabilities
- Irish Travellers and Roma
- Lone parents (confirmed by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) as holding a long-term means-tested social welfare payment)
- Applicant is or was in the Care of the State/ TUSLA
- Direct Provision residents who have been granted either refugee status, subsidiary protection status or leave to remain, and are currently transitioning out of direct provision (within the previous 3 years) per section 14 of the Applicant Support Act 2011 and regulation 5 of the Applicant Support Regulations 2021 (Statutory Instrument No. 132 of 2021).
- Applicant who is/was previously homeless (within previous 3 years).
- Applicant who is/was in supported accommodation (within previous 3 years).
The scholarship recipient is responsible for any fees related to their course.
Students are advised to check the garda vetting requirements for their preferred course of study before applying to DCU.
DCU’s Disclosure of Criminal Convictions policy is outlined here: https://www.dcu.ie/registry/disclosure-criminal-convictions
Information regarding DCU programmes which require garda vetting is to be found here:
- Applicants who do not have a criminal record.
- Applicants who already have a qualification at the same level on the National Framework of Qualifications as the course they are currently enrolled on/are intending to enrol on.
- Applicants who have received funding through another Scholarship or Bursary scheme at an equivalent value.
- Applicants on a course that takes less than two years to complete, or on the successful completion of which a student is awarded a major higher education and training award at level 5 or below on the National Framework of Qualifications.
- Applicants whose reckonable income is assessed as over the maximum income limit, currently €46,790 gross for the family in 2022, as per the assessment criteria for SUSI.
- Applicants who have not lived for 3 of the past 5 years in Ireland.
- Postgraduate applicants.
- In accordance with section 14 of the Student Support Act 2011 and regulation 5 the Student Support Regulations 2021 (Statutory Instrument No. 132 of 2021), Note: Applicants who are in the protection system or at the leave to remain or at deportation order stage are not eligible to apply for a KickStart Scholarship. Persons who are in the protection system or at the leave to remain (not at deportation order) stage, however, can apply to be considered for support under the International Protection Student Scheme 2023/24. Applicants currently living in direct provision are not eligible for support under the KickStart Scholarship scheme; the only exception is in respect of those residents who have been granted either refugee status, subsidiary protection status or leave to remain, and are currently transitioning out of direct provision.
Applicants who are unsuccessful in their KickStart Scholarship application can appeal the outcome of screening only. An Independent Appeals panel will review appeals and advise of outcome. Appeals can only be considered on two grounds:
- An “administrative error in assessment”, if the applicant believes there was an administrative error made in assessing their application through failure to take into consideration information that was provided.
- “Insufficient weight was given to an aspect of their application” in that all their circumstances were not taken into account when their application was being reviewed and something important was not considered about their personal situation.
Appeals Review Process
The Appeals process is managed by an Independent Review and Appeals Panel which reviews all appeals and determines the outcomes. The decision of the Independent Review and Appeals Panel is final.
First, the Screening Committee will review all appeals, checking for correct grounds of appeal. A summary of all appeals will be prepared by the Screening Committee for the Review and Appeals Panel.
The Independent Review and Appeals Panel will review all appeals and record their decision.
If an error in assessment is found, the application will be re-assessed and re-scored. Applicants whose appeals are upheld and who meet the scoring criteria will be progressed to interview.
All unsuccessful appellants are notified and referred to further supports.
By completing this application form, applicants will be submitting their personal data to the Student Support & Development Unit (SS&D) of Dublin City University (DCU) in connection with the Kickstart Scholarship.
SS&D is a unit of DCU, which is the 'Data Controller' in respect of your information.
Your personal data
The personal data you submit will be used to process your application for the Kickstart Scholarship. Your information will be treated in accordance with the DCU Data Protection Policy which can be accessed at the link below:
Applicants will be required to provide their HEI with personal data including:
- Name, address, Eircode, date of birth, CAO/student ID number, mobile phone number, email address, country of birth, nationality
- If applicable, information about the Free Fees Scheme, residency status in Ireland, main entry route into the college, and any disability.
- In relation to the Scholarship, this personal data is necessary for:
- verification of applicant identity
- criminal history verification
- evidence of income
- the assessment of the application
- eligibility for the scholarship
- the selection of successful applicants, and
- the provision of additional supports.
- Separately, Maynooth University as the lead institution will provide the Irish Probation Service with an anonymised version of the applicant information in order to comply with the KickStart Scholarship reporting requirements.
- If applicants do not provide the requested data, their application for the Scholarship cannot be processed.
How will your personal data be used?
DCU is a Higher Education Institution (HEI) which operates the KickStart Scholarship scheme in in partnership with three other HEIs: Maynooth University, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Technological University of the Shannon Midlands Midwest-Athlone Campus Together, these four HEIs make up what is known as “the MEND Cluster.”
The KickStart Scholarship is operated in each MEND HEI within an ethos of confidence and respect.
Applicants will be submitting their personal data to a DCU. As such, DCU is the Data Controller in relation to the personal data of each applicant to DCU.
The MEND cluster complies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Acts 1988-2018 when personal data is collected and used. Each HEI acts as Data Controllers in respect of applicant personal data and must comply with their responsibilities under these laws.
Data will only be processed for the purpose for which applicants provide it and to the extent necessary to process their application in line with the regulations attached to this Scholarship[JO1] . Applicants have the right to withdraw their consent to processing and they also have the right to access any personal data relating to them, upon request to the relevant HEI (see “Applicant Data Protection Rights,” below).
The personal data submitted will be held for a period of 7 years. The personal data may be disclosed by each organisation to relevant internal staff in order to assess the application and to deliver support services to applicants. We ensure that we have a lawful basis [JO2] for sharing this data and that necessary protections have been afforded to the data at all times.
If applicants have any questions in relation to how their personal data is used by their MEND HEI they are advised to refer to 'Who to contact in relation to your personal data?' on the Scholarship website.
Certain anonymised elements of the application data will be shared with other HEIs in the MEND cluster and with the Irish Probation Service.
Only disaggregated anonymised data will be shared with the Irish Probation Service and the MEND HEIs.
A KickStart Scholarship application form will be hosted on each individual HEI website. Further information about the scholarships is available on the Unlocking Potential website[JO3] . A record of responses is generated as applicants submit their forms online. Application details will be stored on a secure network, and password protected. Access to the form and responses is strictly limited to authorised individuals within each HEI, who require secure log-in to access the information.
Applicant Data Protection Rights
Under data protection rules, an applicant has rights as a ‘data subject’. These rights include:
- The right to be informed about what happens to information relating to them (personal data) (Articles 12-14 of GDPR).
- The right to access information relating to them which is held by HEIs (Article 15, GDPR).
- The right to rectification, to correct any errors in their personal data (Articles 16 & 19, GDPR).
- The right to erasure, to delete/destroy information relating to them which is held by the HEI (Articles 17 & 19, GDPR).
- The right to data portability (Article 20, GDPR).
- The right to object to processing of information relating to them (Article 21, GDPR).
- The right of restriction, to limit the way a HEI uses information relating to them (Article 18, GDPR).
- Rights in relation to automated decision making, including profiling (Article 22, GDPR).
If you have any queries relating to our use of your personal data, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance, so that we can address any issues arising.
DCU’s Data Protection Unit can be contacted by email at: email@example.com or by phone at: 01 700 6466 / 700 7476.
If you are not satisfied with DCU’s response to any queries you may have in relation to how your personal data is processed by DCU, you have the right to complain to the Data Protection Commission: www.dataprotection.ie.
By proceeding to complete the KickStart Scholarship Application Form, you as an applicant make the following consent declarations:
- I have read and fully understand the HEI Data Protection Policy and its contents
- I agree that my financial details and supporting documentation may be reviewed by KickStart Scholarship assessors and they will be treated confidentially in line with the HEI Data Protection Policy.
- I understand that some of my data will be shared with the MEND Higher Education Institutions (DCU, DkIT, MU, TUS).
- I understand my data will be shared with the Irish Probation Service as the funding authority of the KickStart scholarship.
- I give permission to HEI to use information already provided in my university Applicant record to assist with the assessment of this application. I agree to provide additional information as required.
- I understand that some details of my application will be used to re-assess and improve the KickStart scheme.
- I am aware that I can view my personal data and I can withdraw my consent at any time. I am aware that withdrawing my consent will exclude me from the KickStart Scholarship.
- I am aware that my data will be held for a period of seven years in line with statutory legal requirements.
- I confirm that the information supplied in this application is accurate and complete. I understand that if I have misrepresented or given false declaration, I will be ineligible for the KickStart Scholarship.
- In the event I am unsuccessful in my application to the KickStart Scholarship, I consent to a staff member contacting me to outline other supports available to me (not mandatory).
Please note that if applicants do not provide the requested mandatory consents, their application for the KickStart Scholarship cannot be processed.