Research for Campaign (EMA cuts scheme)

Background info

Education Maintenance Allowance(EMA) is a financial scheme applicable to studentsand those undertaking unpaid work-based learning in the United Kingdomaged between sixteen and nineteen whose parents have a certain level of taxable income.[1]This applies to those doing, or applying to do, at least 12 hours of guided learning on further educationcourses in school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and Further Education colleges. This includes a wide range of courses up to and including level 3, such as A-levels, GCSEs, BTECsGNVQs, NVQsand other vocational qualifications. Those partaking in an E2E(Entry to Employment course, formerly known as Work based Learning) must do at least 16 hours a week of guided study. Any missed lessons except for extenuating circumstances voids payment for that week. As of 2010[2], the weekly payment for the England scheme breaks down as such:

  • £30 per week for those whose household income is under £20,817 p.a.;
  • £20 per week for those whose household income is between £20,818 and £25,521 p.a.;
  • £10 per week for those whose household income is between £25,522 and £30,810 p.a.

Thresholds are more generous in Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland a flat rate of £30/week per student is payable where assessed income is £20,351 or less (or £22,403 where there is more than one child in the household).

It's only paid if you attend most of your classes and it's for travel, books, or other essentials.

Supporters call it a lifeline and protesters, in around 100 schools and colleges, want to stop it being scrapped next September.

Up until 2010 bonus payments of £100 were available to students who were in receipt of EMA. These bonuses were available in January and July but as of September 2010 these bonuses are no longer available.

Why is it being cut?

We hear a lot about the state of the economy, and how money is much tighter as the country gets itself back on track after the recession.

The government's got research that shows nine out of 10 of the people who get EMA would still go to college if they didn't get it.

It costs the taxpayer £560 million a year and ministers say it is a waste of tax cash at a time when there's not much to spare.


The Labour Party claims the EMA scheme benefits greatly those teenagers from low-income households, encouraging people to stay in education past the legally required age of 16 (end of year 11; fourth year in Scotland). Once in education it encourages high attendance in return for bonuses. A 2006 BBC report suggested that even with the EMA, parents earning less than £30,000 a year still struggle to support teenagers enough to enable them to stay in education past 16.[4]

In tests done by 56 of the 150 English local education authorities in 2004, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Loughborough University found staying-on rates improved up 5.9 percentage points among those who were eligible.[5] This effect was most pronounced amongst boys whose parents were unemployed or employed in unskilled or semi-skilled manual jobs, the group with lowest stay-on rates, and arguably facing the most social pressure to earn money and peer pressure that education is unimportant.[cit

Effects and examples

Souce: Posted by Ann Czernik Tuesday 18 January 2011 10.42 GMT ( Last Visited 26/2011)

How many will be affected by the removal of ema

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Students 'would quit without EMA'

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Leeds students to stage silent EMA cuts protest

Guest blogger Ann Czernik looks ahead to tomorrow's Parliamentary EMA debate, gives her take on the impact of cutting the scheme in Leeds and previews a silent protest in the city today

A poll by University and College Lecturers Union estimated that nearly 70% of all students in receipt of EMA would not have started their course without it.

In Yorkshire and Humber, the takeup of EMA is above the national average with around 70,000 students receiving payments of between £10 to £30 per week. 80% receive the highest payment which is paid to families whose total income is less than £20,817 per annum.

The Yorkshire statistic accounts for over 11% of all pupils in England. Yorkshire and Humber has a higher than average percentage of young people NEET – Not in Employment Education or Training. The Department for Social Policy at York University estimates that NEET costs the economy, individuals, and families between £22-£70 billion.

eeds City College is one of the largest FE colleges in the UK.

The decision to cut EMA 'will impact on a significant number of current and potential students - critically, there will be the effect of the loss of EMA on returning second year students, who will have received EMA in their first year of study, but will not in their second year, as well as the effects on new learners thinking of coming to study with us - especially our planned NEET (those not in employment, education or training) programmes. Colleges simply will not have the resources to meet the financial needs of students who would have previously qualified for EMA and therefore we would anticipate a potential fall in attendance and participation in 2011/12.'

The coalition government has said that a key finding of recent research is that '...only 12% of young people in receipt of EMA believe that they would have participated in the courses they are doing without an EMA'.

However, earlier research showed that 42% said that they would have done the same course but would have needed to earn more money.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies said that 'EMA could have other benefits such as improving attendance or allowing students to spend more time studying and less on part time work' 7% of young people said they would have gone into work based learning and 6 % would not have stayed on.

TheUniversity of York concluded that 'investment at an early stage in a young persons career can sometimes make a difference between an economically active life and a life course plagued with economic inactivity.'

''Benefits of EMA''Edit

The Institute of Fiscal Studies advised that 'the benefits of EMA in terms of higher wages completely offset the costs'. EMA payments totalled £548 million in 09/10.

The coalition government has indicated that EMA will be replaced by an enhanced discretionary learner support fund worth £26m in 2011 – 12 to be distributed by individual schools and colleges – a reduction of almost 95%.

Peter Roberts is concerned that the fund is insufficient. He said in a statement:

"As a college, we do have limited financial assistance available to some students including the Discretionary Learner Support Fund, which can help with the purchase of essential items such as books, material and equipment, but any plans for actual additional allocation to this fund in 2011/12 will not make up the amount lost to students through the closure of EMA."

Leeds City College has written to local MPs highlighting the potential effect the loss of EMA will have on the students, colleges and communities they represent and asking them to, to push for concessions on the decision, and for additional funding to be allocated to any replacement options for EMA.

Students in Leeds are holding a silent protest in Dortmund Square at 5pm on today. Further protests are planned across the region. In London, students plan to march from Piccadilly to Parliament tomorrow.

EMA is a weekly payment of between £10 and £30 given to 16 to 18-year-olds living in households earning less than £30,800 a year.

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changelling EMA

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