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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Funding in education


3.Funding in education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Funding in Education

The expenditure for education services by the State was €9.5 billion in 2017 and respresents 16% of total government expenditure. The allocation for capital expenditure amounted to €690m, and was an increase of €95m on 2016 allocation. This investment will support the delivery of up to 20,000 additional school places and almost 8,000 construction related jobs.

Early Childhood Care and Education

As a national system of pre-schooling does not exist, it is not possible to detail the financial input of those who pay for private pre-schooling. A total of €449 million was allocated under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 for the development of childcare services in Ireland.


The majority of primary schools are financially aided by the Department of Education and Skills. In 2016/2017, 3,250 primary schools and 141 special schools (which are categorised as primary schools) were in receipt of funding from the Department of Education and Skills. A small proportion of primary schools are classified as non-aided primary schools.


There are 711 post-primary schools financially aided by the Department of Education and Skills. All vocational schools, comprehensive/community schools are funded directly or indirectly by the Department of Education and Skills. The majority of free-scheme (non fee-paying) voluntary secondary schools receive capitation grants and some additional grants from the Department of Education and Skills. The fee-paying voluntary secondary schools do not receive capitation or other grants, however, the salaries of their teachers (within the recognised pupil-teacher ratio) are almost fully paid by the Department of Education and Skills. Under an arrangement dating back to the introduction of the Free Education scheme in 1967, the Boards of Management of voluntary secondary schools are required to pay a portion of the salaries of teachers they employ. This is known as the Teachers' Salary Grant and amounts to €562 per teacher. This sum is deducted by the Department from the capitation grants due to voluntary secondary schools who do not charge fees. The Teachers' Salary Grant is repaid directly to the Department by voluntary secondary school that charge fees, as they do not receive any capitation funding from the Department. This grant amounted to €4.98 million in 2010.

Higher Level Education

There are 26 higher level institutions financially aided by the Department of Education and Skills including universities, teacher education colleges and institutes of technology. Two other higher level institutions were aided by other Departments (Justice and Defence) and a further 15 higher level institutions were not in receipt of State financial aid.

Adult Education

The Department of Education & Skills promotes, co-ordinates, funds and monitors the development of programmes for young people and adults who have either left school early or who need further education and training (FET) to enhance their employment prospects and to enable them to progress their education up the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).