Bursary scheme for 16- 19 year olds

The Department for Education has announced a new £180 million bursary scheme to help the most vulnerable 16-19 years olds continue in full-time education. The scheme, which replaces the £560 million per year Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme, is made up of two parts:

  • “Around 12,000 16-19 year olds will be given guaranteed bursaries of £1,200 a year. This group is made up of children in care, care leavers and those on income support. Income support is paid to young people such as teenage parents, young people with severe disabilities, teenagers living away from their parents and young people whose parents have died. This is more than they would have received through the EMA”;
  • “Schools and colleges can distribute the rest of the money to support any student who faces genuine financial barriers to participation such as costs of transport, food or equipment. They will have the freedom to decide the scale of the bursaries; to pay weekly, monthly, or annually; and link it to behaviour or attendance.”

The current discretionary fund is £26 million. In future the fund will be worth £180 million. After the guaranteed bursaries have been paid to the most vulnerable 12,000, colleges will have £165m for the discretionary pot.

There will also be additional transitional arrangements to help those who are part-way through their studies and are currently receiving the EMA. The transitional arrangements consist of two parts:

  • All students who first successfully applied for EMA in 2009/10 will continue to receive payments at the same level until the end of the 2011/12 academic year.
  • Young people now in their first year of post-16 study who were in receipt of the maximum weekly EMA payment of £30 will be eligible for £20 for each week they are in education or training until the end of the 2011/12 academic year.

“The Government will now carry out an 8 week consultation on the scheme so the detailed arrangements can be finalised in time for allocations to be made to learning providers for the 2011/12 academic year.”

NCVYS member Catch22 is concerned with how schools will administer these changes: “The replacement will also have serious consequences on young people from families moving in and out of the poverty trap who may not always receive school meals. Those above the threshold will have to apply for the replacement and there is not clear that they will be elegible to receive it.”


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