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 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.

Apply for Education Maintenance Allowance

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Who can get EMA

If you're between 16 and 19, and you plan on continuing at school from August 2024, 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 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 previous tax year.

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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

You can apply for Education Maintenance Allowance from Monday 3 June 2024.

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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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