Education Maintenance Allowance

What is an education maintenance allowance?

Education maintenance allowance (EMA) is designed to encourage you to further your education after compulsory school, and improve your employment prospects. 

We manage the scheme for on behalf of the Scottish Government which has ultimate responsibility for policy and guidelines. You can find out more about EMA on the Scottish Government website

You must complete an application every academic year, but we'll only accept a renewal application if you successfully completed all the requirements in your previous application. You can find out more about how we monitor your entitlement on our FAQ's. 

When to apply 

Applications for Academic Year 2022/23 are now closed.

Applications for academic year 2023/24 will be available on-line from June 2023

Am I eligible for EMA?

You can apply for an EMA if you:  

  • live in Scotland at the start of your course 
  • have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the 3 years immediately before you started your course 

You must also either have 

  • settled immigration status in the UK, including British citizens 
  • lived in the UK for 7 years if you're under 18 
  • other residency rules also apply 
  • if you live in Scottish Borders and travel daily to England to attend school or college and meet the eligibility criteria can apply to us for an EMA. You won't be eligible for EMA if you receive another type of education funding for example

Your age 

You'll normally be between 16 and 19 years old. However, you may only be 15 at the time of applying, as long as you're not in compulsory education. For example: 

  • if your 16th birthday falls between 1 March and 30 September, you'll be eligible to apply from the autumn intake in August. 
  • if your 16th birthday falls between 1 October and the last day in February you'll be eligible to apply from the winter intake in January. 

Your household income 

Your household income for the tax year ending 5 April 2022 must be less than:  

  • £24,421 for one child in education 
  • £26,884 for two or more children in education 

Income considered as part of household income includes: 

  • earned income 
  • self-employed income 
  • pensions 
  • Tax Credits 
  • Universal Credit 
  • DWP benefits 

Your course and where you study 

To apply with us you should also either: 

  • be enrolled at school in the Borders and be following a recognised course of at least 21 hours per week 
  • have an Stage 1 No One Left Behind programme for more than 9 hours per week, and fully participate in those activities every week 
  • be home educated studying a non-advanced course at home that we've approved 
  • be on a non-advanced course at school or college in England 

You'll also need a learning agreement, signed by you, your parents or carers, and by the school or college you attend. The agreement should detail your timetabled hours and study periods. 

If you're on a non-advanced course at Borders College, and you find information about how to apply on their website.

Apply for EMA Find out more about EMA