Almost a third of 16-year-old pupils in Scotland have received new grant payments brought in to tempt them to stay on at school, figures show.
Pupils who stay on receive payments of up to £30 every week
Education Maintenance Allowances are means-tested payments ranging from £10 to £30 a week to students who stay on at school or further education.
The allowances, introduced in August last year, will soon be available to teenagers up to the age of 19.
Lifelong Learning Minister Jim Wallace has urged pupils to use the scheme.
Scottish Executive statistics show 20,200 students received EMA payments since the scheme was launched and 78% of those received the maximum weekly payment of £30.
EMA STUDENT PAYMENTS
EMAs between £10, £20 and £30 awarded
86% of all awards were for £30
Female pupils were more likely than males to receive awards
10,930 students received a bonus in January
Additional bonus payments of £150 are paid to pupils for good attendance, completion of coursework and good behaviour.
By 2007-08, all eligible 16 to 19-year-olds who undertake a full-time course at school or college will receive an EMA.
The payments are graded at £30 per week for pupils coming from a household where the income is less than £19,600, £20 for incomes of up to £24,000 and £10 for incomes up to £30,000.
Mr Wallace said youngsters and the economy would benefit from the scheme in equal measure.
"For generations many young people, who do have talent and ability, have never realised that or been able to fulfil their hopes," he said.
"That's actually been a loss to the Scottish economy as a whole.
"That's why I hope by having these EMAs in place that more young people will be able to go and get the kind of qualifications and gain the kind of skills that will be of use to the Scottish economy in the future."
The Scottish Tories attacked the initiative and labelled it "a bribe" which encourages children to stay on in school rather than find work.
The scheme was tested in four local authority areas - East Ayrshire, Glasgow, Dundee and West Dunbartonshire before being introduced across the country.