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Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a scheme for people studying or permanently resident in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The scheme is now closed in England.

1. What is Education Maintenance Allowance?

Applies to: People studying or permanently resident in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The scheme is now closed in England. 

Age rules:16-19 year olds

Type of benefit: Means-tested

Administered by: Student Finance Wales in Wales, your local authority or college bursary office in Scotland, Student Loans Company Limited in Northern Ireland.

2. Who does it help?

Broadly speaking, you could get Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) if:

  • you are 16, 17, 18 or 19, and

  • you have left, or are about to leave, compulsory education, and

  • you are carrying on with your studies.

3. Education Maintenance Allowance: England

The EMA scheme in England is now closed. However, schools and colleges have funds to award bursaries to people aged 16-19 who need help.

If you are:

you could receive a bursary of £1,200 a year from your school or college.

If you are not in one of these groups, you can still apply for a bursary from your school or college but any award will be made at the school or college's discretion. They will also decide what conditions you should meet to receive a bursary - for example, linked to your behaviour or attendance record.

You can read more about bursaries on the  16-19 bursaries page of the Gov.UK website

Live in England but plan to study in Scotland or Northern Ireland

If you live in England, but plan to study in either Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can still apply for an EMA in the country where you are studying. You won't get it if you plan to study in Wales.

Live in Scotland or Wales but plan to study in England

If you live in Scotland or Wales but plan to study in England, you can get EMA but you should apply in the country you normally live.

Last updated: April 2017

4. Education Maintenance Allowance: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each has their own EMA scheme.

Wales

In Wales, your family's income must be below £23,078. It also depends on how many dependant children there are in your household. You can find out about the scheme in Wales on the EMA page of the Student Finance Wales website

Scotland

In Scotland, your family's income must be below £26,885. It also depends on how many dependant children there are in your household. You can find out more about the scheme in Scotland on the EMA page of the My Gov Scot website.

Live in Scotland or Wales but plan to study in England

If you live in Scotland or Wales but plan to study in England, you can get EMA but you should apply in the country you normally live.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, your family's income must be below £22,501. It also depends on how many dependant children there are in your household. You can find our more about the scheme in Northern Ireland on the EMA page of the NI direct website.

 

Updated April 2017

5. How much does it pay?

EMA comes in weekly payments of £10, £20 or £30, depending on the income of your household. On top of your weekly amount, you may also get bonuses if you continue to do well and meet targets set by your teacher when you start.

However, you will only get your money if you regularly attend and work hard on your course and it is only paid during term-times.

If you qualify, the amount you get is calculated by looking at your household income.

It is not affected by any money you earn from part-time work and will not make any difference to any benefits your parents get.

6. How do I claim?

You usually apply for EMA in the country where you are studying.

However, if you live in Scotland or Wales and plan to study in England, you should apply for EMA in the country where you normally live.

Wales

In Wales, you can get an application form online or by calling the EMA Customer Services line. 

Post your completed application to: Wales Customer Services, PO Box 5596, Glasgow, G52 9BR

Scotland

In Scotland, you have to get an application form from your school, college or learning provider. You can find out more about the scheme in Scotland on the EMA page of the My Gov Scot website

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, you can get an application form online or by calling or emailing the EMA helpline.

What documents will I need?

Your parent or carer will need to send evidence of the household income for the relevant tax year, for example, their Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602) or P60.

You have to give details of your bank account when you apply for EMA. To open a bank account, you will need evidence of who you are, for example, a passport or driving licence.

Live in Scotland or Wales but plan to study in England

If you live in Scotland or Wales but plan to study in England, you can get EMA but you should apply in the country you normally live.

Further information

See also the Gov.UK information on Education Maintenance Allowance (link opens in a new window)

 

Updated April 2017