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Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

Our EMA application form for the session 2020/21 is now available.

An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an allowance of £30 per week, which can be paid to eligible students who stay on in education after the age of 16 years. Your EMA is paid every 2 weeks during school term time and it is not paid during the holidays.

Find out more about:

You can also find out more information in our EMA student guidance (pdf 138KB) and on EMA Scotland website.

Eligibility

You can apply for an EMA if you are a student staying in education after the age of 16 years. If you are:

  • 16 years of age or over before 30th September 2020, you may be eligible for an EMA from the beginning of the August school term
  • 16 years of age after the 1st October 2020 and before 28th February 2021, you may be eligible for an EMA from January 2021

To be paid an EMA by the council you need 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. Young people on the New Deal education option or on any government supported training schemes are not eligible for EMAs.

Financial requirements

The household income assessment for EMA purposes is the same as that used for assessing Tax Credits. 

You are eligible for an EMA if:

  • your household total gross income is less than £24,421, with one dependent child
  • your household total gross income is less than £26,884 a year, with more than one dependent child
  • you are attending a full-time non-advanced course
  • you are a student who is Independent

You need to provide supporting documents with your application as evidence of your household income.

How to apply

Pupils who previously received an EMA award are required to re-apply and complete a fresh application form for session 2020/21. 

To apply for EMA for the 2020/21 session please submit our online application form. To complete your application you will also need to email supporting documents to the EMA Team.

Applications must be submitted by the student unless there are circumstances that require a parent/guardian to complete this on their behalf. Please note that the application is subject to change until the Scottish Government publish updated guidelines. 

The cut-off date for processing application forms for the academic year 2020/21 is 31st March 2021.

View EMA privacy notice (pdf 231KB).

Apply for EMA

If you experience any issues with accessing the form, please contact the EMA Team.

Supporting documents

You also need to include evidence of your household income. We accept the following documentation:

  • If you are in employment a P60 for year-end April 2020 will be suitable or a payslip 12 showing the final pay to date
  • If you are on any benefits please provide us with letters or certificates from them
  • If you have a Tax Credit form (TCAN) from HMRC which shows your actual income for 2019-20 this will be sufficient
  • If you are a lone parent household we will require proof of this, provide us with the Council Tax bill showing the 25% reduction or a TCAN showing lone parent is on this
  • If you do not receive the 25% reduction due to an older sibling living in the house, please provide us with their birth certificate and any current paperwork to show they live at this address (we do not use their income)
  • If you are self-employed, please provide us with an SA302 or end of year final tax assessment certificate from HMRC; or if you have a current Tax Credit form showing actual income (not estimated) for 2019/20
  • If you are in receipt of any pension please provide paperwork
  • If you are an independent student living on your own we require proof of situation either from the school or a social worker; also provide us with any benefit letters you receive in your own right, such as Housing or ESA
  • If you are in foster care, kinship care, local authority care or a looked after child, we will require a letter from your social worker to inform us of your situation and we do not use the household income
  • If there has been a significant change in financial circumstances from one year to the next, please provide us with previous income and as much information regarding current situation so we can assess a projected income for the future; a provisional payment could be paid and further assessments made during the year

You should send these to the EMA Team.

After you are awarded an EMA

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.

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.

In service and public holidays are counted as term days attended and your EMA will be paid for these days.

If your circumstances change

If your circumstances change for any reason you must contact us. If there has been a significant change in financial circumstances from one year to the next, please provide us with previous income and as much information regarding current situation so we can assess a projected income for the future. A provisional payment could be paid and further assessments made during the year.

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. 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.

Contact EMA Team

You can get in contact with the EMA team by email at ema@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.