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Providing educational opportunity to students from disadvantaged backgrounds or under-represented groups is a fundamental and long-established objective of the Technological Higher Education sector. Through their open, non-restrictive entry mechanisms, and the ladder system of progression (using awards at Levels 6, 7 and 8 of the NFQ, in particular), THEA’s member institutions have contributed greatly to the delivery of public policy objectives to enhance higher education participation and access. This is evidenced in the fact that on average nearly 50% of the annual intake of students entering the technological higher education sector do so through non-traditional routes. All of the institutions have well established access programmes and access services, information on which is available at the following links. Note that the recent establishment of new technological universities (TUs) from partnering institutes of technology may not yet be consistently referenced in all web links or policies - sufficient time should be allowed for relevant staff from each TU to review and update all policies and procedures.

A number of the Institutions also participate in the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) scheme, and the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme. 

THEA and its member institutions work collaboratively with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science’ Equity of Access section and theNational Office for Equity of Access in the Higher Education Authority in areas such as the provision of financial support to students and the implementation of the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-2019

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