Apply for or renew an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Last updated: 31 March 2020

Can I get EMA

EMA is a weekly payment of £30, paid fortnightly in arrears.

If you meet the eligibility criteria you need to apply directly to your school or college.

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.

Dependent children are those up to the age of 16 and those between the age of 16 and 25 in full time further or higher education.


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.

You can only get EMA if you're on a non-advanced course (those studying up to and including Advanced Highers at both school and college). If you are not sure if your course qualifies as non-advanced, you should speak to your learning provider.

Contact your EMA team

Contact your local council's EMA team to find more information on being eligible:

Activity agreements

To be eligible for 'activity agreements', you must be eligible to leave school. You must also be unable or unready to access other post school options.

Does my EMA affect other benefits?

EMA is currently paid in addition to Child Benefit and other benefits. Young people on Job Seekers' Allowance or on government supported training schemes are not eligible for EMAs.