Financial help with going to school

Help with school costs

You may get some help with the cost of your child going to school.

Depending on your situation, you can get financial support for:

  • School clothes (including uniforms) and school shoes
  • Schoolbooks
  • Exam fees
  • School transport fees
  • Assistive technology

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance can help families meet the costs of school uniforms and footwear.

To get the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, your household income must be below a certain amount, and you must be either:

  • Getting a certain social welfare payment, or
  • Taking part in approved education, training or employment schemes

See a list of qualifying payments and schemes on

Your child must also qualify for the scheme.

Read more about who can get the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.

Free schoolbooks

Free primary and special schoolbooks

Since September 2023, parents of children in primary school and special school do not have to pay for schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks (pdf).

The school provides the free books on loan. You must return the books at the end of the school year, or if your child leaves the school. You should make sure the books are kept in good condition so they can be re-used.

If you must buy additional items for your child, the school will let you know.

Read more about the Free Primary Schoolbooks scheme (pdf).

Post-primary schools

Free books for Junior Cycle students

From September 2024, schools in the Free Education Scheme will provide free schoolbooks and core classroom resources to all Junior Cycle students (those in the first 3 years of post-primary school).

The school will provide the free books on loan. You must return the books at the end of the school year, or if your child leaves the school. If you must buy additional items for your child, the school will let you know. While the scheme includes eBooks, it does not cover digital devices.

If your child already started in first year of post-primary school, you may already have their junior cycle books. If your child needs additional books before starting second or third year in September 2024, the school will provide them for free.

Find more information on the Junior Cycle Schoolbooks Scheme (pdf).

Senior Cycle book rental scheme

Post-primary schools in the Free Education Scheme can help Senior Cycle students (those in Transition Year, fifth year, and sixth year) with the cost of schoolbooks.

The scheme allows schools to support students from low-income families or families experiencing financial hardship. Under the scheme, schools can either:

  • Set up a book rental scheme within the school, or
  • Help individual students buy books

You must pay a small rental fee.

You can contact your child’s school to see if they have a book rental scheme. If not, you can suggest it to the school principal. You can also read the Guide for Parents: Textbook rental schemes (pdf).

To apply for assistance under the scheme, contact the school principal. The principal has full discretion in deciding which students are most in need.

You can read more about the different schoolbooks schemes on

Exam fees

Note: There will be no exam fees for students sitting the Junior Certificate or Leaving Certificate exams in 2024.

Ordinarily, students whose parent or guardian have a medical card do not have to pay the examination fees for Junior Certificate or Leaving Certificate. You put the details of the medical card on the fee payment form and send it back to the school.

However, if you apply after the deadline, you will have to pay late fees even if your parents have a medical card.

School transport

The school transport scheme provides transport for children who:

  • Live 3.2 km or more from their local primary school
  • Live 4.8 km or more from their local post-primary school

In general, you pay a fee for the scheme. However, school transport may be free to medical card holders, if the school transport scheme is operating in your area and your child is eligible.

Read more about school transport for primary school and school transport for post-primary school.

Remote Area Grant

If a student qualifies for the school transport scheme but there is no transport service available, a Remote Area Grant may be paid to contribute towards private transport arrangements.

These grants may also be paid to students who live 3.2 km or more from the nearest pick-up point for school transport.

Read more about the Remote Area Grant (pdf).

Special needs school transport

Free transport is available to children with special needs to and from special schools and classes. If transport cannot be provided, you may be able to apply for a Special Transport Grant to help with the cost of making private transport arrangements.

Remote Area Boarding Grant

The Remote Area Boarding Grant provides funding for students to get boarding or lodging so they can attend a free second-level school.

To qualify for a boarding grant, you must:

  • Live at least 4.8km from a free second-level school
  • Live more than 3.2 km from a pick-up point on a transport service to a free second-level school
  • Be unable to get a place in a suitable second-level school within 25km of where you live
  • Be proposing to attend a second-level school that provides free education

Students living on offshore islands which do not have a school providing suitable free second-level education may also qualify.

The maximum grant available is €4,947 per year. This is paid to the school, or to the parent or guardian, after each school term once the school has verified the student’s attendance during the year. You may need to provide a statement of the boarding or lodging fees paid.

Applications for children starting in September of each year should be submitted before 30 April of that year. Applications received after this time may not be processed by September. You cannot apply online.

Read more about the Remote Area Boarding Grant on You can find the application form in Circular 0016/2016 (pdf).

Special needs and physical disability

Schools can get an Assistive Technology Grant from the Department of Education to buy computers and specialist equipment for students with a disability.

Additional grants are available, including grants for

  • Home tuition
  • Irish sign language
  • Typing tuition for visually impaired students

You can read more about special education needs in primary schools and post-primary schools.

You can also read more about special education and special needs and tuition grants on

More information

Department of Education

Schools Division Financial

N37 X659

Tel: (090) 648 3600
Page edited: 7 March 2024