Third Level Degrees Now Available Outside the CAO Points Race

Emer Higgins Adamstown Community Centre

With Leaving Certificate students awaiting their results, local TD Emer Higgins, has announced that new programmes will be available from this September, to ensure that third level degrees are available to students outside the CAO points race.

“In July, Minister Simon Harris, launched a new programme to allow students access a third level degree without having to worry about the “points system”, which, we know puts so much pressure and stress on young people and on parents. Minister Harris heard first hand from students in St. Joseph’s College in Lucan two years ago, and I am really pleased that he used their feedback to shape this new policy,” explained Deputy Emer Higgins.

“I don’t believe that it should be the case that because someone didn’t get a certain number of points in an exam, in a certain year, that they can’t do what they want to do. That’s something students, parents and teachers say to me all the time, and it’s something the Government has set about changing. I am delighted that Minister Harris has delivered new pathways available for students through the National Tertiary Office ( to access the courses they want no matter the number of points they have,” continued Higgins.

From this September, students will be able to enrol in courses in healthcare, enterprise, ICT and creative sectors in a further education institution before progressing to a higher education institution to complete their fully-accredited degree. These programmes represent an important new departure in flexible provision and will provide pathways to learners outside the traditional CAO process

“This is the single biggest transformation to education in decades and is only the start of a much larger reform that Fine Gael will drive in terms of access to third level education. From September, 23 degree courses will be available outside the points system. We know the points system has not worked for many of our young people, and now, we can tell the next generation of students they can access degrees in nursing, business, engineering and media without ever having to worry about points.,” concluded Higgins.

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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