Education maintenance allowance (EMA)

What is EMA?

EMA means Education Maintenance Allowance. EMA is a weekly allowance payable fortnightly during term time to all eligible young people aged over the statutory school leaving age who meet the criteria. You must be willing to adhere to an approved Learning Agreement at school.

The scheme will pay a maintenance allowance of £30 per week (dependant on individual circumstances) provided that the conditions of the learning agreement are met.

How does it work?

  • EMA is paid direct to young people into their own bank account;
  • The EMA is a weekly allowance and is only paid for full weeks within term time up to a maximum of 42 weeks in any one academic year. It can only be paid where the conditions of the learning agreement are met;
  • EMA payments are not made during short term-time holidays which include the October week, Christmas and Spring break;
  • If you go on holiday during term time, you will not receive EMA whilst you are on holiday;
  • The applicant must have a current signed Learning Agreement and keep to the conditions of that Learning Agreement;
  • The Council will monitor each individual pupil’s Learning Agreement through the school.

What is a Learning Agreement?

  • A Learning Agreement is an agreement between you and the school that spells out the learning that will be offered and your responsibilities. It also sets out what is expected in terms of attendance, conduct and progress;
  • To be eligible for an EMA you must have signed a Learning Agreement which must also be signed by your parent/carer and by the school  you are studying at;
  • A new Learning Agreement should be completed for each academic year;
  • Education Services may stop EMA payments where the information supplied by the school shows that you have failed to comply with any of the conditions of the Learning Agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will be entitled to an EMA?

EMA awards will be payable according to the total taxable household income



Less than £24,421 (for families with a single child in full-time education)

£30 per week

Less than £26,884 (for families with more than one child in full-time education)

£30 per week





born between 1 March 2001

and 30 September 2004

August 2020

born between 1 October 2004

and 29 February 2005

January 2021

When should I apply?

An application form has been sent to all pupils.

The table below shows the Scottish Government set deadline dates for submission and when you can expect payment. (assuming you meet the qualifying criteria).

Date of birth between

Eligible from

Submission deadlines

If submission date is missed

Final Submission date

1 Mar 2001 -

30 Sep 2004



Payment is made from date of submission

31 Mar 2021.

Applications received after this date will

1 Oct 2004  - 28 Feb 205

Jan 21

28 Feb 21

PLEASE NOTE: A fresh EMA application must be made each academic year, including all original documentation needed to complete the assessment

Can I apply late?

Students are eligible to apply for an EMA within the academic year.

However, the cut off dates for Education Services to process application forms will be 31 March 2020. No applications will be processed after 31 March 2020 for the current academic year. Students whose application forms have been received after this date will not receive payments for school session 2019/20

What if I move school during the school year?

This will not affect your entitlement to an EMA, provided that you renew your EMA Learning Agreement.