The VTOS & BEA Student


In Liberties College around 30% of all students are receiving Back to Education Allowance. These students are in any of our courses who have been unemployed or in receipt of payment through the Department of Social Protection and have made a decision to return to full-time education. VTOS and BEA students continue to receive all their benefits and allowances.


We have a small number of VTOS places, the majority of which are allocated to three dedicated VTOS (core) courses. Applicants for the places available must be in receipt of one of the qualifying payments for at least 6 months before commencement date of course.

VTOS participants may be eligible for meal and travel allowances and some course expenses are covered by VTOS funding. VTOS participants are not eligible to apply for a student maintenance grant. (Student Universal Support Ireland SUSI)


BTEA allows qualifying students retain their payments from the Department of Social Protection while returning to education without the requirement to sign- on every week. In Liberties College, we come under the Second Level Option for BTEA. It is important to note that you cannot qualify for both SUSI and BTEA payment simultaneously.

To qualify for BTEA you must be:
Over 21 years of age

Must have been in receipt of a qualifying payment for at least 3 months (78 paid or credited days of unemployment) Please note that CE Scheme or time in prison may qualify.

Since 2014 the course must be approved by your DSP supervisor/case worker so must set up a meeting and fill in a DSP BEA from.


Under 21 and over 18 years of age
In addition to the above conditions for the over 21’s you must: Be out of full-time school for at least 2 years

Please note: under 21’s have to pay the full course fee. (unless you have a valid medical card in which case you do not have to pay the government charge of €200)


All courses include a €200 Government charge (subject to government change), and in some cases students may qualify for relief of this €200 charge:

All students are required to pay a deposit of €450 by August of the year of entry unless they produce a valid in date medical card (in which case the reduced deposit required is €250).

On written verification of acceptance by DSP of VTOS qualification and selection process for VTOS within the college VTOS students will receive a full refund of the deposit and no further fees need to be paid. On written verification of acceptance by DSP of BTEA qualification BTEA students without medical card will then receive a refund of €200 from the deposit amount they have paid.

Balance of fees must be paid before classes commence in September.

SUSI Grant holders will be refunded this €200 Government charge when their grant status has been confirmed by SUSI.

As required by government legislation, a registration charge of €200 (in addition to the course charge) will be payable by all PLC Students.

The following categories may be exempted from paying this charge:

  • Full medical card holders.
  • Applicants who are over 21 years of age and who are in receipt of a Back to Education
  • Allowance (BEA) or Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) allowance – as outlined above.
  • Candidates who are eligible under the Student Grant Scheme.
  • Dependent children of medical card holders.

In order to avail of a possible €200 refund, students must provide evidence of exemption prior to or at registration.