TEENAGERS who face having their grants axed could get funding for travel costs.
Calderdale Council is considering providing financial support for students who had previously received the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
The Labour party is calling on the council to take action after fears were raised that some students may be forced to drop out of college a year early because of the loss of their EMA.
The axe falls on the grant in July after the coalition government ended the scheme which provided students with up to £30 a week to stay on in education.
If the Calderdale scheme is backed, around 1,000 second-year students could access funds for bus fares for the duration of their final year.
Clr Megan Swift, Chair of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel, said: “Young people and leaders from Further Education colleges recently told the panel that there was a real problem for students who need help with travel costs, especially those who have started their courses, only to have the money they need for bus fares taken off them.
“Obviously the council is not in a position to replace the 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.”
Last month the Examiner reported that Calderdale Council would save £85,610 once the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is scrapped.
Figures for the 2009/10 academic year show that 3,069 16-to-18-year-olds from Calderdale received EMA – 85% of those at the highest rate.
Of the 3,069 students, 1,974 of those studied in the borough, the rest travelled into Kirklees and Bradford.
If the scheme is approved it would provide support towards travel costs although a student contribution may still be required.
Discussions to clarify the scheme will take place ahead of March 22, when the idea will be presented to the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel.
Clr Barry Collins, Cabinet member for the economy and environment added: “It is entirely right that we should ensure that these students are able to travel to college to complete their courses and it helps both them and local bus companies if we spend part of our West Yorkshire PTA refund on bus travel.
“If the EMA had been maintained for continuing students, we would not be considering this, but these young people are only 17 once and we don’t want anyone to drop out due to cuts in public spending.
“I wish it was possible to offer something to everyone who lost EMA, but we simply can’t afford to do that.”