More than a quarter of a million teenagers in England received education grants worth up to £30 a week this autumn, the government has said.
Students get bonuses for sticking to learning contracts
Education maintenance allowances, for 16 and 17-year-olds with family incomes below £30,000, began in September.
In January, the scheme is being extended to students on short courses, so more are being encouraged to apply.
Ministers say the EMA payments, available across the UK, are improving the relatively poor staying-on rate.
'Get in touch'
Depending on their family circumstances, students get £10, £20 or £30 a week paid directly into their bank accounts - provided they turn up for lessons regularly.
People on vocational courses as well as those studying A-levels or Highers at school or college are eligible.
EMAs: KEY FEATURES
Eligible if born between 1 September 1987 and 31 August 1988, studying at least 12 hours a week
Means-tested weekly payments of £10, £20 or £30
Must sign a contract on attendance, coursework and progress
Commitment bonuses of £100 (up to £500 in total over two years)
Available for academic and vocational courses, including GCSE retakes
Can do paid work - means test is on parents' income (max. £30k)
Other household benefits not affected
There was something of a shaky start, with many of the estimated 350,000 eligible for the money in England filling in their application forms incorrectly, officials said.
The Minister for Skills and Vocational Education, Ivan Lewis, said: "With so many students now benefiting from their regular EMA payments and choosing to stay on in education we are reducing this country's post-16 drop-out rate.
"I urge all young people who may feel tempted to drop out into low-paid work to get in touch with their local college and inquire about available courses.
"If they attend and make progress they will not only receive EMA but gain valuable qualifications to boost their career prospects and earnings."
Last year almost 83,000 16-year-olds dropped out of education or training after GCSEs, according to the Department for Education and Skills.
An evaluation of EMA pilot schemes by the Centre for Research into Social Policy and the Institute for Fiscal Studies found they significantly improved students' motivation, attendance and attainment.
The Conservatives say they would review the scheme's efficiency, and that they wanted to be sure it was helping the right students studying the right subjects.