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Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

EMA applications for 2017/18 session are now closed

EMA is a weekly allowance of £30. It provides financial support to help young people, from low income households, continue their education.

Can I get EMA?

EMAs are available to young people between 16 and 19 years of age. They are awarded depending on the gross taxable household income and the number of dependent children living there:

IncomeNo. of dependent children in householdAward
£0 - £24,421 1 £30
£0 – £26,884 2+ £30

'Dependent children' are:

  • children up to the age of 16
  • young people between 16 and 25 years of age, in further or higher education.

EMA does not affect any other benefits.

Apply for EMA

You must make an new application for every academic year.

Apply for a 2017/18 EMA if you:

  • were born between 1 March 1998 and 28 February 2002
  • are resident in the UK and have been for the past 3 years (some exceptions may apply)
  • live in a household with annual gross taxable income as above.

Learning agreement

Part of your application is a Learning Agreement (LA) that will be verified, as acceptable, by your school.

You must meet the conditions of your agreement to receive an EMA, for example:

  • attend school, or college, for a minimum of 21 guided learning hours per week
  • 100% attendance
  • your payment can be withheld without warning if you:
    • are persistently late
    • don't follow your school's discipline policy
    • don't progress in your studies.


Please note:

  • you can self certify for up to 5 days/10 half days sickness absence during an academic session
  • absences of 5 days, or more, must be covered by a doctor's medical certificate for your EMA payment to be made
  • if you're absent for a period of more than 3 weeks because of illness your allowance will be reviewed.

You will need

  • proof of your household income for the financial year 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017
  • your full birth certificate
  • your and your parent/carer contact details, including email address
  • your bank or building society account details for payment
  • subject/course details for academic year 2017/18
Supporting documents

Scanned, or digitally photographed, supporting documents can be uploaded as a:

  • pdf
  • jpeg
  • png

Please use portrait format and make sure all the text can be clearly read. Documents of more than 1 page should be scanned as 1 file (eg Tax Credit Award Notices).

If you can't upload your supporting documents, the originals must be taken, in person, to 1 of the following:

  • Customer Service Centre, Bridgegate House, Irvine KA12 8BD
  • Town Hall, Countess Street, Saltcoats KA21 5HW
  • North Ayrshire Council, Lamlash, Isle of Arran KA27 8JY
  • Brooksby Medical Resource Centre, 31 Brisbane Road, Largs KA30 8LH

or can be posted to the address below. Please: 

  • include a stamped self addressed envelope for returning your documents
  • write 'EMA APPLICATION' clearly on the front of the envelope
  • check and ensure you have paid sufficient postage.

We must have these within 10 days of your application.

If you need to provide us with further information after you have submitted your application, you can upload additional documents.


EMA payments

EMA payments will only be made once we have assessed your eligibility and your school has confirmed an acceptable LA is in place.

Payments are made fortnightly, in arrears, directly into the applicant's bank account. EMA is only paid in term time. EMA payment dates (PDF, 65kb).

College/university students

Contact your higher/further education institution for an application for financial assistance.

More information

Visit www.mygov.scot/ema

Contact Education Maintenance Allowance




01294 324480 or 01294 324490


North Ayrshire Council, Customer & Digital Services, Business Support (EMA Section), Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE.