Only 12,000 students will be eligible for the replacement for the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Previously, 618,000 qualified for support.
Tory education secretary Michael Gove unveiled the plan on Monday.
The scheme slashes the budget by a third, to just £180 million.
Those eligible will be 77p better off a week. Everyone else will get nothing.
Some £165 million will be divided among all the schools and colleges in the country.
Struggling students will be forced to fight for crumbs.