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Education maintenance allowance

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is administered by local authorities on behalf of the Scottish Government.

EMA is a weekly allowance of £30.

It provides financial assistance to help young people from low-income households to stay on at school and continue their education.

Applications can be submitted on-line by clicking Apply Now at the bottom of this page.  If you do not have access to a P.C, Laptop, phone or device, please contact 01292 616248 or 01292 612237.


EMA is available to young people aged between 16 and 19 years old who are attending full time school education. You may also be eligible for an EMA if you are on an Activity Agreement placement.  Anyone attending college should contact their college bursary office for further information.

If you were born between 1st March 2004 and 28th February 2008 you may be eligible for an EMA.

16th Birthday

Eligible From

Before 30th September 2023

22nd August 2023

Between 1st October 2023 & 28th February 2024

9th January 2024

You should apply by 30 September for the full year award (born between 1 March 2004 and 30 September 2007) and by 28 February (born between 1 October 2007 and 28 February 2008) for the half year award. If you do not have a fully completed application by the dates indicated above, no back-dated payments will be made.

EMA's are assessed on:

  • gross taxable household income. 

For 2023/24 applications, household income will be assessed on gross taxable household income for the period April 2022 to March 2023



£0 - £24,421 (for households with 1 dependent child)

£30 per week

£0 - £26,884 (for households with 2 or more dependent children)

£30 per week

Dependent children are:

  • Children up to the age of 16
  • Young people aged between 16 and 25 in part or full-time non-advanced college education

If successful, the applicant will require to complete and sign a Learning Agreement which details conditions that must be met in order to receive the EMA payments.  These conditions include progress of course work, attendance and behaviour.

Young people may be eligible to receive a provisional award if a self-employed parent is temporarily unable to supply financial detail to support their application.  Provisional awards will be monitored on an on-going basis.

Foster care payments for other children living in the household will be taken into consideration when assessing applications.

If you are receiving education whilst being looked after away from home or living independently in receipt of Income Support or contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you are eligible for an EMA award without having to provide evidence of household income.

Applications for the current session 2023/2024 have now closed.  Application for the new session 2024/2025 will be available in June.

Contact us

If you require any advice or guidance regarding Education Maintenance Allowance please contact us at:

South Ayrshire Council, Education Support Services
County Buildings
Wellington Square
Tel: 01292 616248 or 01292 612237


Information is also available at: Education Maintenance Scotland