Education maintenance allowances

Education maintenance allowances (EMAs) are administered by local authorities on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Who qualifies for an Education Maintenance Allowance and would I be given one?

EMA’s are available to young people who are attending full time school education and full and part-time non-advanced college education.

Anyone attending college should contact their college bursary office for further information.

You may be eligible depending on your date of birth and if you are attending a school within South Ayrshire. Eligibility will also depend on your household income.

Academic Year Birthday You will receive EMA from
2019/20 Born between 1 March 2000 and 30 September 2003 August 2019
2019/20 Born between 1 October 2003 and 29 February 2004 January 2020

Where can I get an application form?

Forms are available from your local secondary school or Educational Services (see address below). You can also download from the link below.

Is there a closing date for applications?

Yes. You should apply by 30 September for the full year award (born between 1 March 2000 and 30 September 2003) and by 29 February (born between 1 October 2003 and 29 February 2004) for the half year award. If you do not submit your application by the dates indicated above, no back-dated payments will be made.

If I attend a South Ayrshire Council school but live outwith South Ayrshire, will I get an EMA from South Ayrshire Council?


EMA is based on household income, the income thresholds are indicated below.

The income thresholds for the EMA Programme, Academic Year 2019/20 are as follows:

Income No. of dependent
children in household
£0 - £24,421 1 £30
£0 - £26,884 2+ £30

Dependent children are:

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

How will my EMA be paid?

Before you apply, you will need a bank or building society account which will accept BACS (Bank Automated Credit System) payments. Your EMA will then be paid every two weeks into that account. You will be notified about details of the amount and instalments before you receive your first payment.

What are the main conditions of an EMA?

Every young person must sign a learning agreement and must adhere to the conditions of that agreement. There is a requirement of 100% attendance throughout the year however, if absent due to ill health for up to 5 consecutive days, you must complete a self certification form. Beyond 5 days a medical certificate should be provided.

Where can I find out more about EMA?

This webpage is intended as a general guide. It should not be regarded as a statement of the statutory position or of Council Policy.

Information is also available at: Education Maintenance Scotland

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

South Ayrshire Council Educational Service
County Buildings
Wellington Square
Tel: 01292 612232 or 01292 612237