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Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Home   Education and learning   Grants and allowances   Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

EMA is a weekly allowance of £30.

It provides financial assistance to help young people from low income households to:

  • stay on at school
  • continue their education

Can I get EMA?

EMAs are available to young people between 16 and 19 years of age.

They are assessed based on:

  • gross taxable household income
  • the number of dependent children living within the household
Allowance details
IncomeNo. of dependent children in householdAward
£0 - £24,421 1 £30
£0 – £26,884 2+ £30

'Dependent children' are young people:

  • up to the age of 16
  • between the ages of 16 and 25 and in further or higher education

Apply for EMA

You must make a new application for every academic year.

Apply for a 2021/2022 EMA if you:

  • were born between 1 March 2002 and 28 February 2006
  • 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

Apply for EMA

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 2020 to 5 April 2021
  • your full birth certificate
  • your and your parent/carer's contact details, including email address
  • your bank or building society account details for payment (please note that the account must be in the name of the young person applying for EMA unless the young person has additional support needs which make this impractical)
  • subject/course details for academic year 2021/22
Supporting documents

It is best to upload your supporting documents when you are applying for EMA. This will mean that your application is processed sooner rather than later.

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 (e.g. Tax Credit Award Notices).

If you can't upload your supporting documents, the originals must be provided within 10 working days.

If posting documents, 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.

If you need to provide us with further information after you have submitted your application, you can upload additional documents. If required, view our guide to uploading additional documents (PDF, 106kb).


EMA payments

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

Payments are made fortnightly, in arrears, directly into the applicant's (young person's) bank account. EMA is only paid in term time. EMA payment dates (PDF, 68kb).

College/university students

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

Further information


Contact Education Maintenance Allowance


Due to the impact of COVID-19, our team are working from home. Please communicate with us by email which will enable us to deal with your correspondence promptly. We thank you for your cooperation.