Further education students around the country are holding events today highlighting the problems that the controversial scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) has caused for students.
There is common consensus including from the government’s Social Mobility Tsar Alan Milburn that the scrapping of EMA was a mistake however evidence in NUS’ ‘Pound in Your Pocket’ research* shows that not only should EMA be restored but it should be replaced with a more targeted version in line with support offered to university students.
NUS’ research found that 30% of all FE students had seriously considered leaving their course and 50% indicated that they regularly worried about not having enough money to meet their basic living expenses such as rent and utility bills.
Actions taking place include students in York who will be creating a display in their college demonstrating the need for a replacement to EMA, in Canterbury students will holding a ‘teach out’ and Dudley College students will be filming a ‘Harlem Shake’ video to raise awareness of funding problems.
Toni Pearce, NUS Vice-President (Further Education), said:
“For the majority of students in receipt of EMA, the money they received kept them in education and helped them to sustain a decent, healthy life. It paid for their course books, their food and sustenance, and it afforded them travel to get to their college gates in the first place.
“We’ve always had the evidence and the arguments that say what they’re doing is wrong; but we also now have the evidence to go one step further and say how things should be reformed.
“It’s not the level or stage of education that should determine how much money you receive to support yourself, it’s how much you need.”
Students will be discussing the campaign on the twitter using #anotherEMAispossible
NUS (National Union of Students) is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.
We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students.