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Educating for success 
in a changing world 

Access to Higher Education

Using FETAC Awards to progress to Higher Education

A learner can use their FETAC award to progress to further and higher education using the links scheme. FETAC has introduced a new awards system known as the Common Awards System (CAS). All FETAC awards will be part of the CAS from 2014.

The Higher Education Links Scheme

This scheme links FETAC Level 5 Certificates and Level 6 Advanced Certificates to reserved places on a variety of higher education programmes. FETAC applicants submit their 3rd level applications to the CAO by the 1st February 2014. In July FETAC results are issued to the CAO and the participating institutions (Universities, Institutes of Technology and private 3rd Level Colleges).

A new scoring system has been agreed for all level 5 and 6 awards, providing access through the CAO to the first year of programmes leading to awards at levels 6, 7 and 8. This will be applied from 2013.

The scoring process is as follows and is managed by the CAO:

Each level 5 and /level 6 component is scored by CAO as follows:

  • Distinction = 3.333 points
  • Merit = 2.222 points
  • Pass = 1.111 points

This is then multiplied by the individual component credit value to a maximum 120 credits, a total of 400 points. This scoring system replaces that of the original Higher Education Links Scheme and that of the Pilot Scheme, and applies to all results achieved from 2013.

For components with a credit value of less than 4 credits, multiply the credit value by 15.

Components leading to the best 120 credits are scored and applicants are ranked accordingly. The best 120 credits come from minor awards achieved with the highest grades.

The transcript for Major awards list the award code and title, grade and date of achievement for individual components required for the major award, and for any components achieved in any other Certification period. FETAC forwards all relevant results achieved by applicants to the CAO.

Important points to note

  • Applicants must have obtained a full FETAC major award. A component certificate will not suffice
  • Application is through the CAO and applicants must be submitted to the CAO by 1st February 2014
  • A full award may be accumulated over more than one year; however some institutes and universities may request the award over one year
  • Certain progression courses may have additional specific requirements
  • Applicants are advised at all times to confirm linked awards, any additional module requirements and application processes with the admissions offices of the participating higher education institutes, or visit
  • In addition, some programmes in higher education require achievement of specified component awards, specific grades in individual component awards, or additional awards such as mathematics
  • Mature applicants who gain RPL must make sure that they have a full award as this is a necessity for progression
  • There is no automatic right to a CAO place

FETAC Common Awards System

“In line with the development of the Accreditation and Quality Assurance process for Learners FETAC has, since 2009 been developing a Common Awards system for all of its FETAC certified awards. This means that all awards previously issued by FAS, NCVA, Teagasc,and Failte Ireland will be issued by FETAC only. This process has been completed for all FETAC level3 and Level 4 Awards and the existing awards at these levels will cease to be effective from December 2011.New awards at Major and Minor level will become effective from that date. A similar process has commenced for all FETAC Level 5 and Level 6 awards and this migration of awards at these levels will be completed by March, 2014.

Every attempt has been made by Coláiste Íde to provide current and anticipated Award Titles and course content on our website and in this prospectus it is possible that the published Award Titles and module titles may be altered as this migration process evolves. Students need to familiarise themselves with the appropriate Award and Module titles prior to applying for courses at the college. In the event of doubt, applicants should consult with the FETAC web-site or contact the college admissions office directly. The college cannot be responsible for course alterations that may be required by FETAC this transition process evolves.”

For further information see and

Information on further study options are available from our Career Guidance Counsellor. This service is available within the College throughout the year. The Guidance Counsellor is available for individual appointments for advice on future career options, further study or matters of a personal nature.