EMA Payments

Education Maintenance Allowance – EMA – is an income-assessed weekly allowance of £30 to help pupils with the cost of further education. It is paid every two weeks directly into the pupils bank account.

It provides young people, who wish to continue in education after school leaving age, with an incentive to earn awards through good attendance and achieving agreed objectives.

Receipt of EMA will not affect any benefits which are currently paid to your household.

Who can get an EMA (eligibility)

EMAs are available to eligible people aged 16 to 19 who have reached school leaving age.

To be eligible, you have to meet the following criteria:


You need to have what's known as 'ordinary residence' to be eligible for EMA.

Ordinary residence means you live in one place, but there is a complicated set of rules that decide whether you're ordinarily resident in Scotland, with different arrangements in place for different immigration statuses.

Household income

Your household income will also determine if you're eligible for EMA. Household income is the income of your parent(s) or carer(s) who live with you.

To qualify, households with one dependent child must be earning £24,421 per year or less, and households with more than one dependent child must be earning £26,884 or less, before tax. 


As well as the above, you can only qualify for EMA if you're either:

  • attending school full time
  • taking part in a learning agreement/action plan (previously known as an activity agreement)
  • on a full or part-time non-advanced course in a college or education centre.

If you think you qualify for EMA please speak to your guidance teacher.