You pay for young to study, council is told

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THE council is being asked to find the money to continue paying some Calderdale students education maintenance allowances.

In July the Government intends to axe the grants which about 3,000 students use to meet their transport costs, and cover the cost of books and equipment.

Labour councillors want Calderdale Council to help students who might otherwise be forced to abandon their studies.

Megan Swift (Lab, Town) who chairs the children and young people’s panel, said: “There is a real problem for students who need help with travel costs, especially those who have started their courses and will have the money they need for bus fares taken off them.

“The council is not in a position to replace the entire EMA scheme but we can at least look at how to make sure that young people who have started courses do not have to drop them for financial reasons,” she said.

The councillors are seeking to provide extra help with bus fares for students who will be on the second year of their courses and would have expected to continue to receive the allowance at the highest rate of £30 a week.

Such families have an income of less than £20,817 a year.

Any replacement scheme would run for one year only and a student contribution might still be required

Detailed discussions about how it might work are under way – taking into account any new government guidance on 16-19 student travel schemes.

The council’s economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins said: “These people are only 17 once and we don’t want anyone to drop out due to cuts in public spending.”

Of the 3,000 young people in receipt of an allowance, about 85 per cent receive the full amount.