The Educational Maintenance Allowance is worth up to £30 a week
Hundreds of thousands of England's teenagers are still awaiting payments of their educational maintenance allowances, the government says.
Schools Minister Jim Knight said there was a backlog of 111,000 applications for the EMAs, intended to encourage poorer youngsters to stay in education.
In total 556,829 applications have been processed and 283,880 youngsters told they qualify for up to £30 a week.
Delays stemmed from contractor Liberata which has now taken on extra staff.
The National Union of Students are calling for a full investigation into the problems.
The new figures are in a letter Mr Knight has written to the chairman of the House of Commons children, schools and families committee, Barry Sheerman.
A student's concerns about EMA problems
They chime with estimates from the Association of Colleges, whose members are having to deal with the chaos.
Earlier this week it suggested three-quarters of those who had applied still had not had their money through.
Of the applications that have been processed, 272,949 (49%) have been rejected initially for various reasons such as having used the wrong form, not having signed the form or supplying insufficient information.
Officials at the Department for Children, Schools and Families say most applicants eventually receive something.
In his letter, Mr Knight says that the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which employed Liberata, has reassured ministers "that this is currently their absolute priority".
Applications are being processed at the rate of about 15,000 a day.
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