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Education Maintenance Allowances 2015-16

7th November 2017

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published statistics on school pupils and college students supported under the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) programme in the academic year 2015-16. EMA provides financial support for young people from low-income households to overcome financial barriers to participate in appropriate school or college courses or an Activity Agreement.

In January 2016 the EMA programme was extended to include college students on non-advanced part-time college courses. Additionally, the household income threshold was raised to £24,421 from £20,351 for households with one dependent child, and raised to £26,884 from £22,403 for households with more than one dependent child.

Key findings include:

31,735 school pupils and college students received EMA payments in Scotland in the academic year 2015-16, a decrease of 4% (1,445) from 33,180 in 2014-15.

School pupils account for 68% of young people in receipt of EMA payment, with the remaining 32% being college students.

Of all 16-19 year old school pupils in Scotland, 31% (21,620) received EMA payments in 2015-16. This is the same proportion as seen in 2014-15 (31%, 22,530).

Of all full time 16-19 year old college students, 23% (11,015) received at least one EMA payment in 2015-16. This is an increase of two percentage points from 2014-15 (21%, 10,650).

The proportion of EMA recipients living in Scotland’s 20% most deprived areas in 2015-16 remained stable at 35% (11,015), although the actual number of recipients decreased by 575 from 11,590 in 2014-15. Among school pupils receiving EMAs, 33% (7,210) were living in the 20% most deprived areas, while among college students receiving EMAs, 38% (3,780) were living in the 20% most deprived areas.

The total amount spent on EMA payments in 2015-16 was £24.8 million, a decrease of £1.7 million from £26.5 million in 2014-15. Of this, £17.4 million (70%) was paid out to school pupils, and the remaining £7.4 million (30%) was paid out to young people attending college. This trend is consistent with previous years.

Analysing the data, it is estimated that the EMA extension has impacted approximately 800 school pupils, and 25 college students. These are students who previously would not have been eligible for EMA, but now are.

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