Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Welcome to the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) page.
An EMA is an allowance of £30 per week (not paid during school holidays), which can be paid to eligible students who stay on in education after the age of 16 years.
Pupils who previously received an EMA award are required to re-apply and complete a fresh application form for session 2017/18. Download the EMA application form (pdf 317KB).
Should you require more information please go to www.emascotland.com
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)?
Aberdeenshire Council pay EMAs, on behalf of the Scottish Government, to eligible school students who have reached their statutory school leaving date and are continuing in non-advanced full-time education. An EMA is a payment of £30 per week, paid directly into your bank account if you stay on in school or in home-education after your official school leaving date.
An Education Maintenance Allowance is £30 per week. EMA is paid fortnightly in arrears, during school term time. EMA is not paid during the holidays.
Will I be entitled to an EMA?
The household income assessed for EMA purposes is the same as that used by the Inland Revenue for assessing Tax Credits (i.e. gross taxable household income). To be paid an EMA by Aberdeenshire Council you must have a bank account in your own name and attend an Aberdeenshire school. Students must be ordinarily resident in the UK. Generally this relates to the qualifying date and the 3 years immediately before.
Does every young person staying on at school in post compulsory education get an EMA?
Only young people who live in a household where the total gross income is less than £24,421 (one dependent child in household) or £26,884 a year (more than one dependent child in household), and who are attending a full-time non-advanced course, are eligible for an EMA. Students who are ‘Independent’ may also be eligible.
Are pupils who are educated at home eligible for an EMA?
Yes. EMAs are available to all students who meet the criteria for EMAs, and are undertaking learning with a Learning Centre recognised and approved by the Local Authority (which may include Home Educators).
How can I apply for an EMA?
You need to get an application form from your school, complete and send or hand to EMA office along with income evidence for last tax year and lone parent evidence (if applicable). Application forms are also available to download from our website or call 01467 532678 or 01467 532831 for an application to be sent to you.
When should I submit an application form for an EMA?
If you are 16 before 30 September 2016 you can apply now for a full year award. If you turn 16 between 1 October 2016 and 28 February 2017 you can apply from 1 October 2016 and will be eligible for an EMA from January 2017.
Can I submit an application form for an EMA after the start of the school session?
Yes, it is possible to submit an application for your EMA after the start of the school session. If you are eligible for a full year award, and if we receive your application by 30 September, payments may be backdated to the beginning of the school session in August.
Will I be entitled to receive backdated payments?
For those eligible for a full year award the application must be submitted by 30 September. If you are eligible for an EMA from January then the form should be submitted by 28 February. If your application is received after these dates your start date will be the date the application is received.
How often do I need to apply for an EMA?
You need to apply for an EMA award every school year.
You will be able to get an EMA for three years, as long as your family income does not rise above the threshold and you are still attending secondary school.
EMA is paid by BACS to the student's bank account.
Who do I contact if I haven't received my EMA payment?
If you haven't received your EMA, you should, in the first instance, check with the school to see that your attendance has been appropriately updated.
Does my performance at school affect my entitlement to my EMA?
Yes – payment of your EMA can be withheld 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.
Will I get my EMA payment if I am off sick?
If you have been awarded an EMA award for the full school year, you are entitled to be off sick for up to 5 days without a doctor's line without it affecting your EMA payments. If you have been awarded an EMA award for half the school year, you are entitled to three days' off sick without a doctor's line. You should inform your school immediately you know you are going to be off, and you may need to provide the school with written reason for being off. Any other absences must be covered by a medical certificate or be authorised by the school.
Do I get my EMA paid if the school is on holiday?
No, you only get paid EMA for weeks when you are at school.
Do I get paid for in-service days and public holidays?
Yes, in-service and public holidays are counted as term days attended and your EMA will be paid for these days.
Will I get any money if I submit my application for an EMA after the closing date?
You may still be eligible for an EMA if you meet all the criteria and apply before 31 March 2017, although payments will not be back dated to the start of the academic term; they will start from the week your application was received. No applications will be accepted after 31 March 2017.
EMAs - What happens next?
1. Once you have filled in your EMA application, send it to the address on the front of the application form.
2. Once your application has been assessed you will receive a letter telling you the amount of the award, conditions of the award and the date the award is payable from. If your application is unsuccessful you will be told why and will have one month in which to appeal.
3. If successful you will then have to reach a Learning Agreement with the school, including conditions and personal learning goals.
4. Once this is in place your weekly EMA will start to be paid (dependent on attendance and adherence to the 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.
Will I still get my EMA if I move school during the school year?
Yes. Your entitlement to your EMA will not be affected if you move school, provided that you renew your EMA Learning Agreement with your new school.
Does the attendance requirement in my learning agreement for an EMA include work placements and college courses?
Yes. EMAs cover all elements of course work that occur during term time as defined by education establishments and recognised by the Local Authority.
No. Young people on the New Deal education option or on any government-supported training schemes are not eligible for EMAs.
If I apply for an EMA will it affect other benefits?
No, EMA is currently paid over and above Child Benefit and other benefits, and is paid directly to the student who is staying on at school. Being in receipt of an EMA will not affect any benefits you or your parents receive.
Other entitlements available to assist you with attending school.
You may also be eligible for free school meals, free school transport, disabled student allowance and a school clothing grant.