Applications for fees waivers on medical and psychiatric grounds at an Irish third-level college

  • D. C. White
  • B. D. KellyEmail author
  • P. Casey
Brief Report



Physical and mental illness present substantial challenges to college students and authorities.


(1) To characterize medical and psychiatric reasons underlying requests for fees waivers at an Irish third-level college; (2) to identify information included in applications; and (3) to develop proposals for standardizing applications.


We examined all applications for exemption from fees for medical or psychiatric reasons over two academic years at an Irish third-level college.


Two hundred and twenty-two students applied for exemptions; 91% were successful. Psychiatric problems were more common than physical illness (64.1 vs. 27.9%). There was wide variation in details provided in applications with few providing details on likely ongoing duration of illness (5.0%).


We recommend that (a) a structured medical application form be completed by medical practitioners supporting applications; (b) a medical practitioner review applications; and (c) there should be annual re-audit of this process.


Colleges Depression Mental health Students Student health services 


Conflict of interest statement

There are no competing interests to declare.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult PsychiatryUniversity College Dublin, Mater Misericordiae University HospitalDublin 7Ireland

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