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National Access Policy Office

The National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education (from 2014 the National Access Policy Office) was established in the Higher Education Authority in 2003 to facilitate educational access and opportunity for groups who are under-represented in higher education. The overall goal of access policy in higher education is that the student population in our higher educational institutions will reflect the diversity of Ireland's population at large.

The National Access Policy Office has the following principle functions:

  • Develop and implement a national action plan to achieve equity of access to higher education
  • Monitor and report on progress in implementing the plan and achieving set targets and outcomes
  • Provide advice on national policy
  • Promote the rationale for access to higher education


The under-represented groups in higher education prioritised by the National Access Policy Office are:

  • Those who are socially, economically or culturally under-represented in higher education
  • Mature students
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students who participate in higher education on a part-time/flexible basis
  • Students who enter higher education on the basis of a further education qualification
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