Renfrewshire Council

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

What Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is, who can get it, what the income thresholds for households are, EMA and your benefits, when and how to apply, how your EMA is paid, how long you can get EMA for.

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What Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a weekly payment of £30, paid directly to young people aged 16 to 19 who continue in full-time education after they reach the statutory leaving age.

You can apply online for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) from mid-June 2023 for the 2023 to 2024 academic year.

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Who can get EMA

If you're between 16 and 19, and you plan on continuing at school from August 2023, you can apply for EMA if:

  • you go to a school in the Renfrewshire Council area
  • your household earns less than the income thresholds listed below
  • your course is at least 21 hours of guided learning per week
  • you agree and sign a valid learning agreement with your school.

A learning agreement sets out what's expected of you around attendance and coursework. You can find out more about learning agreements on the mygov.scot website.

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Income thresholds for households

We look at the income of adults in your home who look after you. In most cases, this will be your parent or parents, but it could also be your grandparents or another family member.

To qualify for EMA, your household must have an income of:

  • up to £24,421 per year before tax, with one dependent child or young person up to 25 in full time education
  • up to £26,884 per year before tax, with more than one dependent child or young person up to 25 in full time education.

We assess your household income using your parents' or carers' Final Tax Credit Award Notice or their P60 details for the tax year 2022 to 2023.

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EMA and your benefits

You can get EMA as well as any other benefits your family get from the government. Your family won't lose out on other money if you get EMA.

It won't affect your parent's Child Benefit.

It won't affect any money you earn from a part-time job either.

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When to apply for EMA

If you are between 16 and 19 years old before 30 September 2023, you may be eligible for EMA from the beginning of the school term. 

However, if you're eligible for the full-year award but don't submit your application by 30 September 2023, you'll only receive the award from the week we receive your application.

If you turn 16 between 1 October 2023 and 28 February 2024, you may be eligible for EMA from January 2024.

However, if you don't submit your application by 29 February 2024, you'll only receive the award from the week we receive your application.

The deadline to apply for EMA for the 2023 to 2024 academic year is 31 March 2024. We won't process any applications after this date.

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How to apply for EMA

You can apply online for EMA. Your parent or carer will need to complete some of the form too.

If you haven't created an online account with us before, you'll need to register for MyAccount. You only need an email address to sign up. If you've already registered for MyAccount, you don't need to do it again. 

You don't need to live in Renfrewshire to register for MyAccount.

For your application, you'll need:

  • your SQA Scottish Candidate Number
  • a contact phone number and email address
  • the name of the school and what year of study
  • the name, sort code and account number of your bank or building society account (this must be your account, not someone else's).

Your parent or carer will need to give us:

  • their name, address and relationship to you
  • a contact phone number and email address
  • evidence of the household income, like a P60, statement of earnings or self-employment, proof of any benefits, Universal Credit or tax credits.

They can upload files from a computer or laptop, or use a camera enabled device, like a phone or tablet, to take pictures of the documents and upload them.

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How your EMA is paid

EMA is paid fortnightly, two weeks in arrears. You'll begin receiving payments when we have awarded your EMA and your school has your learning agreement.

It is paid directly into your bank account. If you don't have a bank or building society account, you'll need to open one. Your account must be one that accepts BACS payments (these are payments that are paid electronically from one bank account to another). Check with your bank if you're not sure.

EMA is not paid during school holidays. It is only paid when you are at school.

Your EMA payment can be withheld if you don't follow your learning agreement.

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How long you can get EMA for

You can get EMA for up to three years. Vulnerable young people may receive support for up to three years within a four-year period.

You'll need to renew your EMA and learning agreement each year you are at school.

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