Northern Ireland

Education Maintenance Allowance: Students to meet John O'Dowd

Students protested about proposed cuts to the EMA in November
Image caption Students protested about proposed cuts to the EMA in November

Student leaders are to outline their opposition to proposed cuts to the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

The NUS-USI is due to meet Education Minister, John O'Dowd, later.

The EMA was introduced in 2004 and offers up to £30 a week to pupils on low incomes. A public consultation on its future ended in November.

The government's proposals to revamp EMA includes five options, all of which make cuts or restrict the number of students allowed to claim the money.

NUS-USI president, Adrianne Peltz, said she hoped the education minister would implement EMA proposals outlined by the unions which she said offered a better deal for students.

"We had a very positive meeting with the employment and learning minister, Stephen Farry, on EMA a few weeks ago," she said.

"It's absolutely crucial that the education minister responds as positively as his executive colleague did as regards NUS-USI's alternative proposals on EMA.

"NUS-USI has offered two alternative proposals which are pragmatic, yet offer a far better deal for students than the government's options which were set out in their consultation," Ms Peltz added.

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