Renfrewshire Council

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

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

If you want to stay in education after 16 but are worried about money, you may be able to get £30 a week Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) if you are aged 16 to 19 and staying on in full time education. 

What the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is

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

You will be able to apply online for the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for the academic year 2021 to 2022 in mid-June 2021.  

Who can get the EMA

If you're between 16 and 19, and you plan on continuing at school from August 2021, you can apply for the 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. 

What the income thresholds for households are

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 2020 to 2021.

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 an EMA.

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

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

How long you can get the EMA for

You can get an 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. 

How your EMA is paid

The EMA is paid fortnightly, 2 weeks in arrears.

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 are not sure. 

The 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.

When we will start paying your EMA

You'll get paid when we have awarded your EMA and your school has your learning agreement.

If you're aged 16 between 1 March 2021 and 30 September 2021 and you apply: 

  • before or on 30 September 2021, you'll get paid at the beginning of term
  • after 30 September 2021, you'll get paid from the week we receive your application form.

If you're aged 16 between 1 October 2021 and 28 February 2022 and you apply:

  • before or on 28 February 2022, you'll get paid from the start of January 2022
  • after 28 February 2022, you'll get paid from the week we receive your application form.

If you're aged 17 or over at 1 March 2021 and you apply:

  • before or on 30 September 2021, you'll get paid at the beginning of term
  • after 30 September 2021, you'll get paid from the week we receive your application form.