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Education Maintenance Allowance

Important update

EMA applications for 2024 - 2025 are now open. 

Please be advised that applications will be processed in due course and awards will be made once all information is received and assessed.  Awards will be posted following the return of schools in August 2024.

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.


You can apply for an EMA if you are a student staying on in education after the age of 16 years and you attend a North Lanarkshire School or Community Learning and Development hub:

If you are:

  • 16 years of age or over before 30 September 2024, you may be eligible for an EMA from the beginning of the August school term. Applications must be submitted by 30 September 2024 for backdated payments to be made.
  • 16 years of age after 1 October 2024 and before 28 February 2025, you may be eligible for an EMA from January 2025. Applications must be submitted by 28 February 2025 for backdated payments to be made.

The cut-off date for all application forms for the academic year 2024-2025 is 31 March 2025. The cut-off date for supporting documents is 5 April 2025.

No applications will be accepted after that date.

Students must be ordinarily resident in the UK. Generally, this relates to the qualifying date and the three years immediately before. 

Please note -  EMA will not be paid until an award and Learning Agreement is in place.

The income thresholds for EMA, for academic session 2024-2025
Gross Taxable income No. of dependent children in household Award
Up to £24,421 1 £30
Up to £26,884 2+ £30
Please note - dependent children are all those up to the age of 16 and those over the age of 16 and up to age 25 if they are in full time Further or Higher Education (proof required).

Email your supporting documents to

Supporting documents

  • The bank account details must be that of the student. The only exception to this is where the applicant has additional support needs which make this impractical. We will contact the school for their advice on the information provided before a decision is made.
  • Applicant’s birth certificate
  • If you are in employment, a P60 for year-end April 2024 will be suitable or a Week 52 or Month 12 payslip showing the final payment to date.
  • If you are in receipt of benefits please provide us with letters or certificates confirming the total benefit received for the period April 2023 to April 2024. 
  • If you have a Tax Credit form (TCAN) from HMRC which shows your actual income for 2023-2024 this will be sufficient.
  • If you are a lone parent household we will require proof of this, provide us with your Council Tax Bill showing the 25% reduction, TCAN showing your claim as an individual or Universal Credit Monthly Statement showing you are single.
  • 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 2023-2024
  • If you receive any pensions please submit confirmation of the total received for the period April 2023- April 2024
  • If you are an Independent student living on your own, please provide us with evidence of any benefits you receive in your own right.
  • 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 a copy of your birth certificate. We do not use the household income.
  • If your parents receive payment as foster carers for other children living in your household, the fees element of their payment will be taken into account in assessing your application.

In-year reassessments

This is possible where income for the current financial year has fallen under the relevant threshold for the household. Documentation will be required confirming both the change in circumstances, for example due to loss of employment or reduction in earnings, and the current level of gross income.

You should submit a letter requesting an assessment of the current circumstances and supply proof of the current income.

Please note - where reassessment has been requested and results in the student becoming eligible for an EMA award, payment will only be made from the date the request for reassessment has been received in the EMA Section.

In addition, the award will be made provisionally. Payment will be suspended at a later date and you will be asked to provide further confirmation that your income remains under the relevant threshold.

Learning Agreement

You must meet the conditions of your agreement to receive an EMA. For example:

  • attend school or learning HUB for a minimum of 21 guided learning hours per week
  • 100% attendance

Your payment can be withheld if you:

  • are persistently late
  • don't follow your school/learning HUB’s discipline policy
  • don't progress in your studies


You can self-certify for up to five days (10 half days) of sickness absence during an academic session.

Absences of five days, or more, must be covered by a doctor's medical certificate for your EMA payment to be made.

If you're absent for more than three weeks because of illness your allowance will be reviewed.


Payments are made two-weekly in arrears.

When we receive the learning agreement back from the school your payments will commence and any backdated payments due to you will be with this payment. If you do not receive a payment and you think you should, please contact your school.

If you require further advice, contact the EMA section by emailing 

You can also find out more information on the EMA Scotland website.

Payment Schedule and Guidance Notes


These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Please contact us to request an accessible format.

Page last updated:
21 May 2024

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