About The Campaign

Save EMA is a progressive political campaign. It aims to provide a voice to over half a million of the poorest young people in Britain, who face the potential loss of the vital Education Maintenance Allowance.

About EMA

The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a means-tested allowance of between £10 and £30, paid to 16- to 19-year-olds who stay on in education.

Rolled out nationally in September 2004, EMA is intended to help with the cost of books, travel, equipment or anything useful to the continuation of learning. It’s paid straight into the pupil’s bank account, not their parents or their college, giving them independence and forcing them to take charge of a small weekly budget. The payments are under the condition that they attend classes regularly. If the pupil works hard or achieves good grades, there is the opportunity to earn bonuses.

EMA is available to 16-19 year olds who come from low income families and whose household’s net income is below £30,000 pa. There is an additional grant for those students from families household income is up to and below £20,000 pa. EMA currently exists all across the UK although the administering of it is devolved to the regional parliaments of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

About Save EMA

The Save EMA campaign aims to:

  • Get every party to be as clear as possible about where they stand on EMA;
  • Get those parties who oppose EMA to change their policy;
  • Give a voice to those students currently receiving EMA to enable them to express support for it;
  • Increase awareness of EMA and its benefits.
  • Get a vote on EMA in parliament, so it is shown the same attention as tuition fees.
  • Fight the cuts to EMA by any peaceful means possible!

About what Save EMA has achieved so far…

Save EMA was set up in Novermber 2009 to protect EMA once the school leaving age is raised to 18, and we succeeded in lobbying the previous government to commit in March 2010 to keep EMA “up to and beyond” the time the school leaving age is raised. We also managed to get David Cameron and Micahel Gove on record to also commit to supporting EMA. Then once elected we managed to get Nick Gibb, the Tory Minister responsble for EMA to commit the new government to supporting EMA.

So you can see why we are angry! Because as of October 2010 in the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Tory-led government announced plans to scrap EMA by removing 90% of it funding.

We have succeeded in raising awareness of EMA, and making it a major issue.

There was not going to be a vote on EMA like the one on tuition fees in December 2010, because its classed as departmental spending. So we lobbied the Labour party to make sure there was one by an email campaign, and we succeeded. There was a vote on EMA on 19th January 2011, although we did not win the vote, the campaign continues by other methods now there is plans a foot for a legal challenge supported by our trade union colleagues to fight the government in the courts.


  1. jordan says:

    wht the hell why wuld they do this i cant live anywhere with out m ema leave it alone u stupid goverment we neeed it

  2. Kayne says:

    EMA is of paramount importance to those from less privileged families. Scrapping the £100 bonus is a justified action to take because you shouldnt be rewarded for the sake of staying in education. What the government is seriously neglecting to address however is the major problem scrapping the scheme will cause. Thousands will simply not go to college resulting in further unemployment and people on the dole. I myself have to travel by two separate trains to simply get to college and, living in london alone my lunches cost alot as well. Textbooks are expensive and simple things such as paper, pens, notebooks and equipment are in constant need of being topped up. Being in college is allegedly called ‘full time’ education however scrapping EMA, the government is insinuating that those who cant afford to be in full time education full time will have to get part time jobs. This is not necessarily a bad thing however in this economic climate there arent many jobs going around, especially not for a non-skilled, fresh-from-school student with no previous significant experience in the working world. The thousands who will inevitably drop out or not go to college will also be looking for these same jobs, it is therefore inevitable that these job spaces will fill up very quickly. Now what do those who were unlucky in getting a job get? nothing. They will also have to drop out of school/college. scrapping EMA is clearly contradictory to the PM’s own words earlier this year saying ema would not be scrapped. A clear example of why these days the electorate do not and now I’ve realised should not trust politicians who get to have a £65,000 a year salary and flip homes left right and centre. Why should the next generation of prospective students have to pay for the problems our BANKERS cause, its absolutely horrendous. Scrapping EMA, along with higher tuition fees (well well Mr Scrap Tuition Fee Clegg) have resulted in the convservatives and liberals digging their own grave. I myself will not be voting for either of the two for definite in the next election. SAVE EMA.

  3. Madeleine says:

    My mum has three kids to raise on her own, including me. She has to pay for all three of us, not having any spare money to put in for university funds. Having the ema, allows me to start saving for my life in the future, now the government is taking that away from me.


  5. curtis sprigg says:

    david cameron is a biggott and the government is shite and they do not look after the citizens of the uk. david cameron is a dickhead and doesnt know how to do his job. he is a thieving Bastard and i am a student who recieves EMA. and david cameron should resign from office and bring someone else in who will deal with the problem reasonbly.

  6. Emma Briggs says:

    This is awful what they are doing the government are an absolute disgrace they should be ashamed of themselves. Us students that come from a less fortunate background will not get the chance of education that more well off families get. Therefore the rich will become richer and the poor will become poorer disguising to be honest.

  7. Bethany Jane Stewart says:

    When I first heard that EMA was getting axed, I never believed it, partly because I thought it was just too disgusting to be true. Now I know it’s being canceled, I’m absolutely appalled. It means I may not be able to continue my education next year, as I’m in my first year of 6th form. I am strongly against this Goverment now, and I hope he recognises this as being a very sickening decision.

  8. rebecca says:

    i need EMA, i dont get any money off of my mum, i have to pay for my own clothes, school stuff, trips that i need to go on for c/w, if i didnt get ema, then i wouldnt be a 6th form id be looking for a job.

  9. Julie says:

    I need ema or i wont be able to get to and from college! this goverment sucks!!!!

  10. Joe says:

    withut ema i wouldent be able to travel to college!

  11. M.A says:

    i am currently receiving EMA so does that mean in the new year i will stop getting my weekly payments?

  12. Life is already a struggle and this government is just making it worse for us students. EMA is so useful for many of us who are not very well off. My parents aren’t going to be able to afford giving me money to get to college and to buy for resources needed for my course, as they already have enough to pay for. Most people are going to be worst off.

    I hope David Cameron soon realises that we are the future of this country, because at the moment he’s ruining alot of people’s futures.

  13. David Cameron says:

    i get the feeling people dnt like me

  14. Emily Goscomb says:

    I honestly don’t know how I would have been able to afford college if it wasn’t for EMA. My local college is 16 miles away from home which means that i had to get a bus pass..costing around £500.
    This is where the majority of my EMA went. The rest was spent on other expenses such as the many text books i needed to buy. My sociology text book cost £19 alone. Then add the cost of the other text books (£40+ £19, the cost of my bus pass (£500) and other expenses such as paper, pens, folders etc and you’re looking at about £600 a year.
    I would never have been able to afford that without EMA.
    I’m lucky as I leave college before the cuts, but my younger brother who started this year will have to drop out after this year. There’s no way that my family has the money for another bus pass.

  15. Natasha Pharr says:

    I live in a rural area and have to travel by bus for 1hr 30mins on the bus each day to attend the closest college. Without EMA, I know I will no longer be able to continue studying there, meaning that it is more likely that I will have to claim benefits as I will find it increasingly more difficult to get a job. Stop EMA, and you’re basically giving thousands of young people the need to claim more money from the government anyway. Bravo!

  16. sinem says:




  17. Anna says:

    Cameron is a total loser! He should go away living his life and not deciding to ruin thousands of teenagers life… WTF DOES HE THINK HES DOING CUTTING OFF EMA + RAISING UP UNI FEES ?!?! IS HE MAD/???? I CANT SLEEP BECAUSE OF THAT BASTARD!!!!!!!!!

    S A V E E M A !!!

  18. Ben says:

    I am in year 12 now studying ICT and Computing, I wanted to continue in year 13, because my mum only earns around £10,000 a year the EMA supports me, and petrol for my bike getting to school, equipment, etc, this means I will have to drop out of school this September and not get my qualifications because I simply cannot afford it, the decision to axe EMA is disgusting and has affected mine and many others futures.

  19. Cathy says:

    We have three daughters and a very low income. They are/ were all entitled to EMA. The coalition government has scrapping of clearly not thought through a the new system. At present, though we are eligible for free school meals as well, we do not claim them because we do not want to disclose our income to the school.
    Schools will soon have to make difficult choices and have to administer these new payments – yet another piece of red tape. With the EMA it was straightforward to claim and I did not mind disclosing my income to an organisation where no one knew me. Perhaps the government realises this and it is a deliberate ploy.

  20. victoria says:

    Personally i believe that scrapping the ema scheme is a bad idea, i recieve the £30 a week, and i have to admit that without it, i wouldnt be in school half as much! its not like i dont want to learn, its just that this is my motivation to work. Also as my mam is a single parent, and lives on a low income, i belive that without my ema i wouldnt be able to get to school, or get the equipment i needed, as i know she couldnt provide for me as much as i needed!
    Also i believe that the tory’s are taking money from the poorer people, as they want the rich to be richer and the poor to be more poor! Personally i belive they want a greater divide between the classes, which is wrong!!!
    Also they have abolished free transport to schools, and only some are eligable, which is another example of how they wish the poor to be less educated!!
    I say, “KEEP EMA” and sort out other places, where they are hemorrhaging money!!!

  21. cx2uk says:

    I know two pupils receiving EMA. Both are from single parent working families. Both of them also have jobs. Neither of these families incur any additional expenses by having their children stay at school beyond the age of 16. They receive free school transport, totally free resources in school, their uniform costs no more than it did when they were 15 and neither does their food (which they would eat even if they weren’t in school). In fact these mothers benefit by still receiving Child Benefit and maintenance payments via the CSA for the time their children are in school beyond the age of 16, when these would normally stop. So what exactly is EMA for? Paying children to stay at school? Paying children to study? Giving them £30 a week to blow on make-up and clothes? I’m not a Tory but I’m damned if I can see any fairness in this. My children have stayed on too, we don’t qualify but there’s no way I can afford to hand them £240 a month to spend as they like. No this is not fair, not even a bit.

  22. Sarah says:

    I think its disgusting the Government taking EMA away from young people that actually want to make a good life for themselves and cannot afford to do that without EMA. I bet alot of young people will have to claim benefits from the government anyway!

  23. Fazal says:

    My life has always been ruined ive always been knocked down the floor and i relly needed to get back up and as i herd abought this EMA its made my life even Misreble i cant sleep when i was revising and doing my exams i couldent get my mind of MONEY AND EMA but as they all say Money cant buy happines but i really needed the money and i would 100% give it to chairity someday Woooo £30 a week ITS JUST GONE fair enough if it was just 5 a week or month we all just want EMA if the RIOTS happen i will join Lol

  24. i simply cannot voice the current state of our government. They are taking away every chance of hope for work and education that we as young people have. They moan about people being unemployed and that we all sponge of welfare but there the bastards who are making this life for us. im a single mum of 3 and have just gone back to college to become a midwife and iv had to pay for everything. The real culprits they want to focus on are those who claim the dole because there lazy twats and just want to sit and get pissed and smoke weed alday. There the ones who are giving us as young people a bad name its a joke

  25. Chris Davies says:

    I am not old enough to recieve EMA yet, but when I am, I will consistently rely on it to get me through College and University. It is sick that we will not have anything to live on and will be left on our arses when we need that money the most. Think about our future, we’re not gonna afford tuition fees and we certainly won’t even afford college buses after a while. For Gods sakes, think about us and not your pockets for once.
    A 14 year old boy

  26. sandy says:

    On the 17 June 2011-Peter Lauener Chief Executive issued a letter to all schools/collages which included DCCA, he stated: Every effort has been made to ensure the allocation is correct(funding). In the interest of finalising these allocations before the summer break this allocation will be regarded as final unless you raise any queries and concerns within the next two weeks and by 30th June at the latest.
    Now that you have details of your allocation and of how Ministers expect the 16-19 Bursary Fund to be administered, you should proceed to develop your own, local arrangements. You may wish to work with other providers in your local area to develop a common approach to the 16-19 Bursary Fund, or to take account of models such as those being developed by the Association of Colleges.
    It is crucial of course, that all prospective students, especially those relying on financial support to continue in education, understand the support that is available to them as early as possible. Due to its discretionary nature, communications from providers will be the main way that many young people hear about the 16-19 Bursary Fund. You will therefore want to consider what action you can take quickly to raise the awareness of the 16-19 Bursary Fund, including locally set eligibility criteria, amongst young people, particularly the most vulnerable.

    On the 1st July 2011 Letter of information/or information provided to the DCCA as all schools were Peter Lauener Chief Executive stated: Providers have been advised to proceed to develop their own, local arrangements, including plans for communicating the 16-19 Bursary Fund to young people. They may wish to work with other providers in the local area to develop a common approach to the 16-19 Bursary Fund, or to take account of models such as those being developed by the Association of Colleges. Local Authorities also play a crucial role in raising awareness and understanding of the Bursary Fund, especially amongst the most vulnerable young people Any action you can take now to ensure vulnerable young people (especially those still looking for a place in
    education for September 2011) know about the availability of the Bursary Fund will be extremely valuable. DfE will be producing some downloadable materials to support you –
    these will be made available on the YPLA website.

    DCCA did not inform any students of the bursary funding until late October 2011defeating the point of the bursary funding and ignoring the guidelines sent to them. I certainly was in contact with the school through all September 2011 enquiring about the funding and how my daughter could apply for this, but I was informed that no-one had dealt with this at this time(there was no forms to apply for the funding at DCCA), therefore in September 2011 my daughter and all other students at DCCA could not apply for the funding though the school had already received the funding for all the students in August 2011 and were given guidelines to inform students and should have made available application forms in September or before this.

    Students were not aware of the schools criteria of the funding in September 2011. Therefore students lost out on funding when the DCCA finally had the award meeting in November 2011 to see if students had met their criteria and only then were letters sent out to students after the 1st December 2011 to inform those who was entitled to the funding!.

    DCCA were fully aware they had to let students know of the funding and the criteria they had to meet in September 2011 of the new term. I had emailed the finance office and still by the 28th September 2011 there was no information forms for students on the bursary funding, no forms for students to apply for this funding and no conditions given to the students of the criteria they would have to meet within the school. I only found out about the funding looking on the web, many parents and students do not have access to the internet. But then again it was up to DCCA to inform students of the funding in good time for the new term as set out by Peter Lauener Chief Executive

    DCCA failed to inform their students of the funding in good time as stated by Peter Lauener Chief Executive and left the students without information, application forms until October 2011. Leaving students without funding for nearly two terms from 4th September 2011 to near end of December 2011 when all students broke up for Christmas, this was when payments of the funding were eventually paid in cases no payments made to students at all!.
    All students within DCCA had covered their costs they incurred within the school for nearly two terms in 2011 this would include those who would have used the funding for travel and food incurred attending DCCA.

    DCCA paying students every term. back dated, by 6-7 weeks defeats the point of the funding which is to help the student with costs incurred at the time of attending the school/collage when they need it not seven weeks later. It would seem the schools main priority and concern of the Principle is to raise attendance and behaviour with Post16-19, by using the funding as a strong arm with a twist, to make sure the schools criteria is met in full by the student. DCCA fail to see the funding should not be used in such a way as to cause stress and financial difficulties with their students which DCCA clearly are doing.

    With the new 16-19 funding given to the schools/Colleges, the schools/Colleges can set their own award, criteria and payment to their students. Many schools/Collages have applied this funding fairly with fair criteria and weekly payments being made. In DCCA case they have used the bursary funding to their advantage and in such a way that the student faces many obstacles, unfairness in trying to receive this funding.

    DCCA Principle states(please see my letter sent to me:
    One of the aims of the allowance is to encourage full attendance, therefore funding is distributed at the end of each term to ensure that the criteria are met. This follows guidance and mirrors the usual method by which people are paid in society.

    People in society do no get paid every 6 or 7 weeks, as stated by DCCA. It would seem DCCA want to make payment of the bursary funding the way people who work/get paid in society and do not want to see this is a funding for the use of students to help them within their courses and costs incurred at those times during those weeks of study.
    The Principle seems to be treating the Post 16-19 funding as some kind of paid wage which needs to be paid like people in working society, this is madness, is DCCA a business or a school!

    Many of the terms within DCCA are 6 to 7 weeks therefore the students of DCCA are left without funding for all these weeks which they need at the time of their studies and what the bursary funding was intended for. The Principle would be aware of his students having financial difficulties within his school and the effects on their courses, yet he has allowed this funding to be applied under the schools own made up ruling which is unjust and harsh on the student.

    The Principle is certainly aware of my daughters financial difficulties/costs incurred as she has had no payment of funds for two terms and is faced with another term with no funding. Has the Principle lost sight of what the bursary funding is intended for.
    The Principle has stated that my daughter has not incurred costs within the school, which I dispute and have sent evidence of this to him. He is aware of the fact that whether the student incurs cost or not during any week should not mean they will not be paid the funding they are entitled too this is not a condition of the funding, my daughter is no different to all the other students within the school.
    There have been times my daughter could have bought things to enhance her courses/bought things for her courses, but as she has no funding she went without these things she needed, leaving her at a disadvantage.

    DCCA stated my daughter was eligible for the bursary funding in a letter written on the 1st December 2011 when the Principle eventually looked at all applications in late November, but then went on to state my daughter would not receive the terms 1 and 2 of this due to the level unauthorised absences. The dealing with the Post16-19 funding forms that students put in early November were put aside to the OFSTED inspection the school still at this point did not see the importance of the students being left without funding for months!

    In my daughter case the 1st term (which was 7 weeks) there was 1 day recorded unauthorised absence and a recorded U(late to class after registration) out of the seven weeks of that term. Based on this and without informing me of the unauthorised absences until December 2011 they did not pay my daughter any funding for all those 7 weeks, leaving her with costs she/I had incurred over that 1st term out of her own pocket money and my household income. I had sent a letter into the school which the school had not recorded resulting in an unauthorised absence. A copy of this letter was sent to the school via the attendance officer and Mr Williams as proof I had sent this at the time of my daughter illness, the school/Mr Williams will not acknowledge this letter in its true form and update the resister.

    In the 2nd Term the school recorded three days unauthorised absences, which my daughter was off ill due to sore throat and head headaches etc. I had contacted the school this is recorded. As the days went on she was worse she was off this week due to being ill. I had spoken to someone at the school to cover the remainder of the 3 days that my daughter would be off for the rest of the week, this had not been recorded at the school it resulted in the three unauthorised absences within the school.
    There was also a recorded unauthorised absence for 1 day which I had phoned the school to cover this day, the school failed to record this which resulted in an unauthorised absence.

    As the school did not contact me which I would have presumed they would have at the time of a student not attending the school. I could have informed them I had already contacted the school and gave the reasons for the absences. But as the school only contacted me after months in a letter dated 29th November 2011 how would I have known their was no recording of my contacts with the school on my daughters illnesses!

    When I contacted the attendance officer in December 2011 after I had seen her letter of the 29th November 2011 and the print out of my daughters attendance sheet. I informed her I had covered those days I was either not believed and told we do not take information on students illnesses over two weeks! How was I aware there were recorded unauthorized absences in September and November at those times if the school only writes to me wither months later or weeks later!
    At no time did the attendance officer contact me about the recorded absences until after the schools funding panel met in late November 2011, and only then I was written to with a print out of my daughters attendances. This letter would have been done to cover the non-payment of the bursary funding letter of the 1st December 2011 and not the fact they were concerned with the attendance as the school would have informed sooner than they did.

    I have pointed this out with the school this is a problem of recorded unauthorized absences with the bursary funding as parents contacting the school may not have their contact of reasons to why their child is off school recorded on the register or within the school which will result in unauthorized absences and then no payment of the funding, which will not be known until about 7 weeks later when their child does not receive funding payments.
    As the school only pays the funding 6-7 weeks later the parent cannot correct this matter that their call/letter has not been recorded, as the attendance officer states she cannot take cover of illness over two weeks(Principle has changed this to 5 working days after I made complaints to the school of this condition and the change to 5 working Principle declined to give me a reason to why he did this).
    Therefore my daughter met all her conditions to receive her funding, that she had been covered for her illnesses and still the Principle feels my daughter should not be paid and will not comment on what I have informed him of about the problems of the school not recording contacts with the school for my daughters illness days.

    I am now in complaints with the Governors on Rosa attendance recording and also her bursary funding due to Mr Williams not seeing sense to my complaints. I have stated also to the Governors in writing: I would like to school to admit the unfairness of the payments of the Bursary funding and the Criteria students have to meet. This only being that if the student has one recorded entry out of the whole term the student loses all the other weeks of funding though all those weeks met the schools criteria.
    EMA criteria weekly is a fairer system this also encourages attendance and behaviour and has been means tested and has worked. It also does not leave the student without funding for the whole of a term because of one recorded unauthorised attendance or a behaviour cause for concern, which in the DCCA criteria is a scandal.
    Students are being robbed of the funding by the very people who should be doing all they can to get help and support for their students. I would like the Governors to make change of the criteria of the funding. And that there should be a meeting with all parents of the students with funding on this issue. Students have been badly effected by the DCCA on this funding or will do so in the future.
    To leave my daughter without funding for two terms and to face another without funds is a disgrace and another scandal.

    Peter Lauener Chief Executive gave the highest of guidelines/info that were made to the DCCA. And yet the students did not receive any funding till late December 2011 in my daughters case she was given nothing though she was entitled to the funds.

    I have spent months since September 2011 in trying to get funding for my daughter which I was ignored by the school only Department of Education contacted me telling me to make complaints to the school of the bursary funding as the school had not dealt with it with the students.
    I have been left in months complaints with the school because in December 2011 the school eventually deals with the funding, my daughter is told she will not get any of the funding she is entitled too!.
    I am faced with illnesses and major surgery which due to these complaints and complaints other agencies I cannot have due to the stress and the worsening of my illnesses. I think for me to be fighting for funding that was given to schools by the government to support students is awful.
    Many students are leaving school due to the lack of funding to either sign on or look for work not being able to achieve in their life their ambitions. My daughter is considering leaving at the end of this term as the stress and financial difficulties are too great for her and me. This seems to be the last thing the government would want to see for young people in not gaining higher education to enhance their chances for future employment.

    I was also hospitalized on the 4th October 2011 for a day in A&E which I believe weeks of stress due to the complaining and enquiring for weeks contributed to this, again after spending weeks trying to get my daughters funding and faced with stress of it all. Having to pay costs within the school and for a trip. Faced with costs of buying the my two children cloths for school also. My daughter was without funds all last year that had been given to the school in August 2011.
    My daughter now faces anther term without funding covering costs within her courses and unable to buy the the things she needs for her courses.

    I am disappointed that I made complaints to the Principle and he failed to answer to my points of concern and my complaints and this has led to me taking the complaints further with the Governors. Now there is no response from the Govenors of my complaints! You make complaints and yet the school cannot respond to you complaint points you have made this is a failure of the school which leads to further complaints which the parent does not need. But I am more disappointed that the school did not use its common sense and guidelines to apply this funding fairly so all this should not have happened in the first place.

    My son who receives EMA funding is being supported by these funds but then DCCA are not in complete control of this funding and payments are made weekly. It is frustrating for my daughter that she has no funding and attends school regularly and works hard in her courses.

    I feel DCCA has failed its students with the funding.

  27. kate says:

    my EMA got taken away from me when it costs me £5 per day to even get to college. my relationship with my mum isn’t good and it’s getting worse because i rely on her for money for travel and food. on top of this i have rent to pay and i have to save up some of the money she gives me in order to pay rent which means some days i go without eating. thanks david cameron.

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