Education Maintenance Allowance to support more students from low income families to continue their education

EMA Poster
EMA Poster

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a weekly allowance of £30 per week, payable during term time, which supports 16 to 19 year olds from low-income families, to continue their education in a school or college.

From 1 January 2016, two significant changes to the EMA programme will widen the net of those eligible for this weekly allowance.  Students undertaking part-time non-advanced college courses will be eligible and at the same time the household income thresholds for pupils and students will be increased. Household income assessment takes account of the gross income of those adults who have a caring responsibility for the children in their household.

The increase in income thresholds will enable a family, with gross earnings of up to £24,421 per annum, with one dependant child to receive this weekly allowance.  This represents an increase of £4,070 on current threshold levels. For a family with more than one dependant child, the increase is £4,481, which enables families with gross earnings of up to £26,884 per annum to qualify.

Sheila McKandie, The Highland Council’s Benefits and Welfare Manager said: “The Education Maintenance Allowance scheme provides an incentive for young people aged 16-19 from low-income families to continue with their post-16 education, either in school or college.

“This weekly term-time allowance is paid directly into the student’s bank account and does not currently affect child benefit or other benefits being paid to their parents or carers.   These changes mean that many more young people in Highland are eligible to apply, while also continuing with their education. I would encourage all pupils and students from across the Highland Council area who are eligible to apply, to do so as quickly as possible to ensure that they do not miss out on this weekly term-time payment of £30.00.”

For further information about Education Maintenance Allowance, including eligibility, pupils and students should speak directly with the nominated contacts within their school or college.  Additional information is also available on the Highland Council’s website at

22 Dec 2015
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