Education Maintenance Allowance

Updated 15 June 2020

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.

If you think you might qualify, please complete the online EMA application form.


How often do I need to apply for an EMA?

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

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. 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 30th 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 28th 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.

Updated 15 June 2020