The loss of the EMA for English students

January 21, 2024

finance, lifestyle, news

So for those of you who don’t know, the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) has been scrapped this week, meaning students will no longer get it in England. The EMA is given to people between the ages of 16 and 19 who do at least 12 hours of guided learning a week at school or college. It basically depends on how much money your parents make, but you could get between £10 and £30 a week.

There have been a lot of student protests in the past month or so, with university students protesting over having to pay their tuition fees (which are now going to be three times as much as they were before) and now the EMA being scrapped.

Now having been a student myself a couple of years ago, you would think I would be firmly on the side of the EMA students, but to be honest, I’m not.

I was listening to the news on the radio the other night when I was driving home and they were talking to a bunch of teenagers who were moaning about losing the money. One girl who received £10 a week said if she lost it she would have to drop out of college because she couldn’t afford to travel there and back, and couldn’t ask her parents for money. Now I’m sorry, but £10 a week is enough to drop out of college? In my first two years of university I didn’t get any form of bursary, and while I did get travel allowance, it didn’t come till the end of the year, so you still had to make it through yourself.

The way I paid for my travel to and from university was by getting a job and paying for it myself. I’m not saying it’s easy to get a job in these ‘economically hard times’ but surely that should be the first option instead of just “oh I can’t afford it I’m dropping out”. Because if you drop out of college, what are you going to do then? Surely you’d have to get a job to have any money at all?

When I was at high school the EMA didn’t exist in Scotland, and plenty of people managed to get to college without it then. I think the problem is students expect far too much free money to get them through their education, and when it gets taken away, they feel entitled to it and kick up a massive fuss. Not the case; you should just be thankful for the money that was given to you at the time. 

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