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Education Maintenance Allowance - financial help for senior pupils

If you want to stay on at school or college or are home educated, you may be entitled to an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). This is a weekly allowance of £30. It provides financial support to help young people from low income households continue their education.

EMA is paid on a 2-weekly basis in arrears, based on attendance.  School applicants will only be paid during term time. Activity Agreement applicants can be paid over 52 weeks, based on attendance.

If you are a student at college and you are doing a non-advanced level further education course your application should be made directly to your college.

EMA is available to young people between 16 and 19 years of age and is awarded depending on your household's gross taxable income and the number of other *dependent children living with you.

  • If you are 16 years of age or over before 1 October 2023, you may be eligible for an EMA from August 2023, the beginning of the school term
  • If you are 16 years of age between 1 October 2023 and 28 February 2024, you may be eligible for an EMA from January 2024
  • Young people eligible from August must have their applications submitted by 30 September 2023 to be considered from August. Applications received after this date will be considered from the week that their completed application is received
  • Young people eligible from January must have their applications submitted by 28 February 2024 to be considered from January. Applications received after this date will be considered from the week that their completed application is received
  • The cut-off date for processing application forms for the academic year 2023/24 is 31 March 2024. No applications will be processed after this date
  • The household income used in the assessment is the gross taxable income from the previous financial year (April 2022 to March 2023). However, if there has been a significant change in a household's income, the gross taxable income from the current financial year (April 2023 to March 2024) can be estimated and considered. Checks may be required throughout the current financial year to confirm continued eligibility
  • The income thresholds for the EMA Programme, Academic Year 2023/24 are as follows:
EMA award
Income No. of dependent children in household Award
£0 - £24,421 1 £30
£0 - £26,884 2+ £30
  • Dependent children are all those up to the age of 16 and those from 16 up to 25 if they are in full time further or higher education
  • If you are under the care of a local authority you should provide an official letter from them confirming your circumstances or if living independently, provide proof of your income
  • EMA's will not affect any other financial support or income you receive
  • If successful you must complete a learning agreement and adhere to the terms of that agreement
  • If successful you must attend school or be home schooled for a minimum of 21 guided learning hours per week (timetabled hours including study periods)
  • The school details relate to the school at which you intend to study from the start of the next school year. If you intend to study between two schools or school and college over the same period, enter details of the place at which you will spend the most time
  • If successful you will only receive EMA payments for those weeks where you have maintained 100% attendance (including authorised absences) and acceptable punctuality and conduct
  • If successful you will receive an award letter. You must keep this safe - it can be used as part of the required proof for a SAAS Bursary or loan application in the future
  • You must make a new application for every academic year
  • You must have lived in the United Kingdom for three years to qualify for an EMA, however, your application may still be considered if you do not meet this criteria

If your household is in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or *Council Tax Reduction from South Lanarkshire Council, you do not need to provide anything as we can confirm this automatically. *Single person discount on your Council Tax is not classed as Council Tax Reduction.

If your household is not in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction from South Lanarkshire Council, you will be required to provide proof of your household income and any other supporting evidence.

The following will be required with your online application (if relevant):

  • Tax Credits - all pages of your current award notice (TC602) for this year showing the following:
    • Name and address
    • Household income
    • Any children's details
    • Working Tax/Child Tax Credit award details
  • Universal Credit - screenshots of all sections of your most recent online Payment Statement showing the following:
    • Name and address
    • Amount being paid and date of the assessment period
    • All entitlement and deduction figures
  • Income Support - your most recent award letter (only for students receiving this in their own right)
  • Letter from Social Worker or Unit Manager confirming address - for students living in a care/children's home
  • SAAS or college award letter - for all other dependents in your household aged 16 - 25

If you do not provide all the required pages of your Tax Credits award notice or Universal Credit statement, this could cause a delay in your application being processed.

If you are unable to provide the required evidence with your application, you will need to complete our household income online form. You will receive a link to this on completion of your EMA application.

Please have your household income details and/or other evidence ready to upload before you begin.

You will be asked to upload evidence on the application form. We can accept jpegs and pdf files but we advise pdfs as the file size is smaller.

Please don’t take photos of your PC screen or phone screen as these can be blurry. If you need to do this you should use the screenshot/print screen function on your PC or phone.

When you take a photo of a document such as a bank statement sometimes the file sizes are too big, especially if you have to upload a lot of different images to your form. This can cause the form to fail and we advise converting jpegs to pdfs. You can do this in the following ways.

On an Android phone

  • select image you want
  • from the menu select print image
  • select Save as pdf
  • choose where to save it
  • save

On an iPhone

  • select the image you want
  • tap the sharing button and select Print
  • at the Printer options screen, use a spreading gesture with your fingers on the image preview to show Save as pdf
  • select Share the converted photo as PDF and choose where to save it  

On a PC

  • right click on the icon of the image
  • select Convert to Adobe pdf
  • click on the Save file icon in the top left hand corner
  • select where to save it
  • name it
  • save

If you have been asked to provide evidence to support an application that you have already made for an Education Maintenance Allowance, you can submit this using our online form.

Related content

  1. Education Maintenance Allowance - financial help for senior pupils
  2. EMA payment dates