Education Maintenance Allowance

The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme provides financial support for 16-19 year olds who stay on in full time, non-advanced education after their statutory school leaving date. 

The scheme is part of the Scottish Government’s agenda of encouraging access to, and participation in, further and higher education by young people from low-income families.

The EMA is a weekly allowance of £30 payable to eligible young people who have achieved 100% attendance per week.  It is payable in arrears, generally on a two weekly basis.

The EMA application process is currently closed for this school year (2021-2022) and will re-open for school year 2022-2023 at the beginning of July.


Who can apply for an EMA?

You can apply for an EMA if you turn 16 years of age by 28 February of that academic year. You must live in a household with annual income of £0 - £24,421 or £0 - £26,884. You must meet the residential requirements and you must attend school for 21 hours or more of programmed study each week. (Please download the EMA Policy Document for more detailed information regarding the eligibility criteria.

How often do I need to apply for an EMA?

You need to apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance award every year.

Only one application form should be submitted per student per academic year.  If you are contacted to provide further evidence in support of your application, please email these documents to:

Who do I contact if I haven’t received my EMA?

Firstly check with the school to see that your attendance has been appropriately updated.  If this has been updated please contact EMA Team, Shared Services (tel: 0141 578 8947 / email:

Does my performance at school affect my entitlement to my EMA?

Yes, payment of your EMA can be withheld, without warning, if your school attendance falls below 100% in any one week.  Lateness can also affect payments.  If Learning Agreement conditions are not met, then your EMA may also be withheld, with no warning. 

Does my EMA get paid if I am on holiday?

No, you will only be paid for weeks when you are at school.

Do I get my EMA if I am off sick?

If you have been awarded an EMA for the full school year, you are entitled to five days self – certification.  If you have been awarded an EMA award for half the school year, you are entitled to three days self- certificate (1 day or half day absence = 1 Self-Certificate).  Any other absences must be covered by a medical certificate or be authorised by the school.

Will I get my EMA if I move school during the school year?  

Yes. Your entitlement to an EMA will not be affected if the school is within the same Council area and provided that you fill out a new EMA learning agreement.

Can I receive my EMA while on work experience or study leave?

Yes. You will receive payments for the weeks you are on work experience, but only if this work experience is during term-time, as an agreed part of your course and is un-paid. You will be paid for study leave only if you attend for your exams.

Will you accept an EMA form after the start of the school session?

Yes. If you are eligible for a full year award and if we received your application before 30 September, payments will be backdated to the beginning of the school session in August. If you are eligible for a half-year award and we receive your application by 28 February, payments will be backdated to the beginning of the school session in January.  Otherwise, payments will be made from the week in which we receive your application. The cut-off date for processing applications is 31 March - no application will be accepted after this date.

What is an EMA Learning Agreement?

An EMA Learning Agreement is an agreement between a pupil and the school that details the learning that will be offered and the responsibilities of both parties in attaining this.  Pupils are expected to adhere to this Learning Agreement, but if they don’t, EMA payments could be stopped.

Can Home Educated young people apply for EMA?

Yes. Home educated children can apply for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), and are subject to the same eligibility criteria as set out for school educated children. EMA is available to eligible young people who are undertaking full-time non-advanced level study by home education. The EMA programme is administered by the local authority in which the home education is based. Applications should be made using the EMA Application Form (when asked if you attend a secondary school you enter "NO" - this alerts the team that you are Home Educated). You will be asked to complete a learning agreement that provides evidence that the programme of study the criteria for EMA. Students applying for an EMA as a home educated student must have a history of home education prior to reaching their official school leaving date.