2. Analysis and Interpretation
Recipients of EMA
9. In 2014-15 there were 33,180 young people who received an EMA payment, a decrease of 6% (2,290) from 35,470 in 2013-14.
Figure 1: Young People in Receipt of EMA by Institution Type
[See Table 1]
10. Figure 1 shows how the number of people receiving EMA has changed over time.
11. The majority (68% or 22,530) of EMA recipients accessed the programme while studying at a Scottish school, with the remaining 32% (10,650) attending a Scottish college (see Table 1).
12. The overall trend is explained by the gradual fluctuation in the number of school pupils receiving EMA (the total number of school pupils receiving EMA in 2014-15 decreased for the first time in since 2010-11) and the steady decrease in the number of college students receiving EMA since 2008-09.
13. Of all school pupils in Scotland aged 16 to 19, 31% (22,530) received at least one EMA payment in 2014-15 (see Table 1 and paragraph 37). This is lower than the 34% who received an EMA payment in 2013-14, and a continuation of the steady decrease from a high of 41% in 2006-07. Please note that this decrease does not necessarily indicate the rate of uptake has decreased. There are no data available on the number of school pupils who were eligible for EMA each year.
14. Of all full time college students in Scotland aged 16 to 19, 22% (10,650) received at least one EMA payment in 2014-15 (see Table 1 and paragraph 38). This is the same as the percentage who received a payment in 2013-14, but still represents a decline from a high of 27% on 2006-07. Please note that this decrease does not necessarily indicate the rate of uptake has decreased. There are no data available on the number of college students who were eligible for EMA each year.
15. In 2014-15, 49% (16,300) of EMA recipients were male and 51% (16,875) were female (see paragraph 36).
16. Table 1 shows that the difference between the number of male and female EMA recipients has been gradually decreasing since 2008-09 for school pupils. The difference has also decreased for college students, but increased over the latest year.
17. Figure 2 shows time series data for the different age groups that receive EMA. Young people cannot receive EMA until they reach school leaving age. However, for data collection purposes, the age used here is recorded on 30th September each academic year, therefore there are some 15 year olds recorded as receiving EMA.
Figure 2: Young People in Receipt of EMA by Age: 2006-07 to 2014-15
[See Table 2]
18. As in previous years, the majority of EMA recipients were 16 years old (14,950 people: 45%). 18 and 19 year olds make up the smallest number of EMA recipients (2,310 people: 7%) (see Table 2).
19. The decrease in overall numbers was driven by the younger age groups. There was a decrease of 11% in both the number of 15 year olds (down 565) and 16 year olds (down 1,875) receiving EMAs. The number of 17 year olds decreased by 1% (down 130), and the number of 18 and 19 year olds increased by 17% (up 330).
20. The proportion of EMA recipients living in Scotland's 20% most deprived areas in 2014-15 was the highest on record at 35% (11,635). This is an increase of 1 percentage point since the previous year and 6 percentage points since 2006-07 (see Table 3). People from the 20% most deprived areas are therefore over-represented among EMA recipients. This might be explained in part by the fact that one of the main criterion for eligibility is household income, and income is a key domain in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (see paragraph 41).
21. The actual number of EMA recipients living in Scotland's 20% most deprived areas in 2014-15, however, decreased by 4% (540) from 12,175 in 2013-14. This decrease is relatively smaller than the overall decrease in EMA recipients.
22. Figure 3 shows that the trend over time is largely driven by an increase in the proportion of school pupils receiving EMAs who live in the 20% most deprived areas, which increased by 8 percentage points between 2006-07 and 2014-15 to 33%, compared to a 4 percentage point increase among college students over the same period, to 38%.
23. The proportion of college students receiving EMA who are from deprived areas has remained relatively stable over recent years, and has consistently been higher than the proportion for school pupils. This might be explained in part by the fact that people from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland are generally over-represented in Scotland's colleges.
Figure 3: Proportion of EMA Recipients from 20% Most Deprived Areas
[See Table 3]
Total Spend on Payments
24. The EMA payment spend in 2014-15 was £26.5 million, a decrease of £2.1 million from £28.6 million in 2013-14. The fall was driven by a decrease for school pupils (down £1.8 million from £20.4 million to £18.6 million), while the overall payment spend for college students decreased only slightly over the same period (down £0.3 million from £8.2 million to £7.9 million).
25. The proportion of the EMA payment spend for school pupils in 2014-15 was 70%, a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2013-14 (Table 5). The proportion of the EMA payment spend for each gender was 49% for males and 51% for females. This mirrors the gender balance for the overall number of EMA recipients (see Table 6 and above).
Average Payment Spend per Person (excluding bonus payments)
26. Figure 4 charts the EMA programme's average annual payment spend per person in each of the last nine academic years. Average payment spend was calculated by dividing the total spend on weekly payments by the number of people who received an EMA payment each year. Bonus payments were excluded to allow comparisons with previous years' data, as bonus payments ceased in 2010-11 (see Tables 4 and 5).
Figure 4. Average EMA Spend (£) per Person by Institution Type: 2006-07 to 2014-15
[See Table 5]
27. Figure 4 shows that the average EMA payment spend per person decreased slightly in 2014-15 (£8 lower than in 2013-14) (see Table 5). This average had steadily risen in previous years, with the exception of a slight dip in 2012-13. At £798 per person, the average spend is 18% higher than in the 2006-07 academic year. The differences in average spend between 2006-07 and 2014-15 are summarised in the table below.
|Number of people||Weekly Payments|| Average Payment |
|Number of people||Weekly Payments|| Average Payment |
28. One explanation for the increases in average payment is the removal of the £10 and £20 payment levels after 2008-09. Since all students now receive the maximum £30 weekly payment, the average spend per person would be expected to be higher in subsequent academic years.
29. The difference between the average annual payment for college students and school pupils in 2014-15 is the smallest since the EMA programme began.
Email: Ryan Scott