EMA to be Scrapped

November 06, 2010

Education maintenance allowance (EMA) will be scrapped in order to fund the compulsory education and training of all under-19s.

EMAs were a means-tested allowance of between £10 and £30, paid to 16- to 19-year-olds who stay on in education and whose household income had to be less than £30,810 per year. Those receiving the maximum £30 payment make up 80% of all recipients, with their household income is below £20,817 per year.

A replacement programme of targeted support for those most in need is likely to have a budget just a fraction of the size of EMA, as the Government seeks to save £500 million of the total £574 million budget.

George Osborne, the chancellor, told the House of Commons: “We will fund an increase in places for 16 to 19-year-olds, and raise the participation age to 18 by the end of the Parliament.”

The Department for Education justified the decision by saying that evaluations of the allowance showed that 90 per cent of the money was “dead weight”, going to students who would have attended anyway. However a survey carried out by the NUS in 2008 found 65% of participants on the £30 rate stated that they could not continue to study without EMA.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies report said EMA was a significant factor in improving staying-on rates in education, particularly for boys and for the poorest students. It said it had boosted participation by around six percentage points. Colleges are particularly concerned about EMAs because they teach 69 per cent of students receiving support.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “We are appalled to learn that education maintenance allowances are at risk. The simple message here seems to be: ‘Don’t be poor’.”


  1. I have received EMA for the last two years; without it i wouldn't be able to afford to travel to college or buy myself food for lunch. I think scrapping it would make a lot of students drop out, not because they want to, but because they can't afford to go.

  2. EMA will still be available to students over 18 who are in the lowest percentage of household income.
    I personally think the EMA cut is wrong; a lot of people rely on it, getting part time jobs is hard enough at the moment especially without the stress of collage. If people do drop out of collage even more strain will be put on the government as there will be a huge increase in unemployed young people.

  3. This is a disgrace to be honest.

    When I was at Sixth Form studying for my A-Levels, I was luck enough to be raking in the cash at my part-time job, working 30 hours per week outside of my studies.

    HOWEVER, if it hadn't have been for that job, my £30 EMA per week would have been my only income and I can't imagine what it must be like for those poor kids who, unlike me, were and are unfortuante enough to not have a job aswell.

    What with the Univeristy tuition fee rises and now this, it seems as though this Tory government really does not give a flying fish about education and the youth of tomorrow, and just want to focus solely on reducing the debt of the nation's economy, thus putting them in a good light to Labour considering we went into recession whilst ruled under a Labour governement.

    It's time to put the political sqaubbling to aside for once and focus on what really matters; the youngsters of this nations who are in higher education, whether it be sixth form or University, and are lookign to make a change to our nation through their professions in future generations to come.

  4. I believe it was the labour government who introduced the change to the education system; now pupils have to stay in school untill they are 18. Because of this, funding needs to be found, and what better place than the ema budget?
    I don't think they realise the effects it will have on people, or the current unemployment issue.


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© Charlotte Aimee Clarke 2010