Education Maintenance Allowance - financial help for senior pupils

If you want to stay on at school or college 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.

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 2021, you may be eligible for an EMA from August 2021, the beginning of school term
  • If you are 16 years of age between 1 October 2021 and 28 February 2022, you may be eligible for an EMA from January 2022
  • Young people eligible from August must have their applications submitted by 30 September 2021 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 2022 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 2021/22 is 31 March 2022. 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 2020 to March 2021). However, if there has been a significant change in a household's income, the gross taxable income from the current financial year (April 2021 to March 2022) 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 2021/22 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 for a minimum of 21 guided learning hours per week (timetabled hours including study periods)
  • 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
  • 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. Please read our guidance notes and complete the downloadable EMA application and submit to the address shown on the form

We will need proof of your household income and/or other supporting evidence as part of your application.

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. Please note that 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. This can be uploaded with your application and could include:

  • Tax Credit Award notice (TC602)
  • Universal Credit Journal or Statement
  • Income Support award letter if you are a student receiving income support in your own right
  • Letter confirming residency at your current address if you are in a care/children's home (from Social Worker or Unit Manager)
  • SAAS or college award letter for all other dependents in your household aged 16-25

If you are unable to provide the above evidence you can't complete our online application. However, you may still be considered for an EMA. Please read our guidance notes and complete the downloadable EMA application and submit to the address shown on the form.

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

Apply

Please have your household income details and/or other supporting documents (where applicable) ready to upload before you begin.

Related content

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

EMA helpline

Email: EMA helpline