NUS Wales has launched a campaign to urge the Welsh Government to increase Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to reflect the cost of learning and to expand eligibility so more students can qualify for support.
EMA is a weekly £30 grant designed to support 16 to 18-year-olds in Wales, from low incomes households, with further education costs.
But despite spiralling cost of living increases over the last two decades, EMA has not gone up oncesince it was introduced in 2004.
Around 17,000 further education students rely on EMA to continue learning but, in the context of a Cost of Living Crisis, it’s no longer fit for purpose.
Without a change thousands of students in Wales risk being priced out of further education.
Orla Tarn, NUS Wales President, said:
“Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is vital in supporting young people from low income backgrounds through further education. But at just £30 a week, it’s not fit for purpose.
“Even before the Cost of Living Crisis EMA didn’t go far enough to support students in further education. The fact that it hasn’t increased in almost two decades proves it needs to be updated to reflect the needs of learners today.
“We were pleased to see the Welsh Government back a motion by Plaid Cymru MS Luke Fletcher to reviewEMA.
“Now we’re urging them to take the next steps to ensure young people aren’t priced out of education.”