Education Maintenance Allowance

What is an EMA?

An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an allowance of up to £30 per week payable to eligible young adults who stay on in full-time education at school or college after their 16th birthday.  It can be paid for a maximum of 3 consecutive years, with, usually, 2 years at most in secondary school.

The young person has to satisfy attendance requirements and also, they have to complete a EMA Application Form 2013 will be provided for this or for those in other education, an Activity Agreement; a contract between the young person and their school or Learning Centre before payments can be issued.

Note – no payments will be issued until a Learning Agreement/Activity Agreement has been completed.  The school or Learning Centre will then notify the EMA Unit that the Learning Agreement/Activity Agreement has been completed.  The school/Learning Centre will authorise the necessary weeks owing and payments will be picked up at the next available payment date. 

It is the responsibility of the young adult applying to approach their school/supervisor in regard to completing their Learning Agreement/Activity Agreement.  

A new application must be submitted each year using the correct application form – these forms are available from:

The information below is intended as a general guide and it should not be regarded as a statement of the statutory position.

The current application form is for young adults attending Highland Council (Scotland) schools/learning centres and has a booklet of Guidance Notes to help with completion.   

Young adults attending college or university should apply direct to the college or university. For further information about EMA for young adults attending college or university please contact the college or university direct.

To contact EMA Unit for further information:

EMA Unit
Highland Council
Glenurquhart Road
IV3 5NX      

Telephone number: 01463 702206   e-mail:

For general information about EMA in Scotland see the web site:

Scottish Government – write to:

Enterprise and Employability for Young People Division
Scottish Government
5 Atlantic Quay
5th Floor
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow, G2 8LU

Those applying to another local authority in Scotland