Renfrewshire Council

Education Maintenance Allowance (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 16-19 and staying on in full time education.

What the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is

An 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.

Who is entitled to an EMA

For academic year 2020-21, all eligible young people aged 16 to 19 years old who plan to continue their education in school from August 2020 can apply as long as the following criteria is met:

  • You must attend a school in the Renfrewshire Council area,
  • Your household income falls within the approved income thresholds set by the Scottish Government,
  • Your course must involve at least 21 hours of guided learning per week
  • You must agree to and sign a valid Learning Agreement with your school

The following table sets out the point at which you potentially become eligible (age wise) for an EMA during the academic year 2020-2021.

Date of BirthReceive EMA From
Born between 1 March 2001 and 30 September 2004August 2020
Born between 1 October 2004 and 28 February 2005January 2021

The 2020-21 EMA application form and guidance notes will be uploaded soon.

How much you will get

You will receive £30 a week as long as you fall into the income thresholds below and maintain 100% weekly attendance.  

The income thresholds for the EMA Programme, Academic Year 2020-21 are as follows:

IncomeEMA Payment
£0 to £24.421 For families with a single dependent child in the household.£30 a week
£0 to £26,884 For families with more than one dependant child in the household.£30 a week

Under both sets of guidelines, your parent(s)/guardian(s) will need to provide evidence of household income for the period April 2019 to April 2020.

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 have to make a new application each year.

How we assess your household income

We look at the income of adults in your home who have a caring or parental responsibility for you. In most cases this will be your parent or parents, but could be grandparents or another family member. We assess your income using your parents/carers Final Tax Credit Award Notice (TCAN) or your parent/carers P60 details for 2019-2020.

EMA and your benefits

EMA is paid in addition to other support and benefits provided by the Government. Your family won't lose out on other money if you get an EMA.

  • It will not affect your parent's Child Benefit.
  • It won't affect any money you earn from a part-time job either.

How your EMA is paid

  • The EMA is paid fortnightly, 2 weeks in arrears.
  • The EMA is paid directly into the students bank account. If they do not have a bank or building society account they will need to open one. This account must be one that accepts BACS payments (please check with your bank if you are unsure).
  • The EMA is not paid during school holidays and will only be paid for weeks in attendance at school.

How your performance at school affects your EMA

Your EMA payment can be withheld without warning based on:

  • If attendance falls below 100% in any one week.
  • Lateness can also affect payments.
  • If Learning Agreement conditions are not met.