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If you’re 16 to 19 years old you could get £30 a week to help you continue learning, through the Educational Maintenance Allowance programme. Over 33,000 school and college students in Scotland receive the EMA,
a Scottish Government fund to support young people from lower income families to continue with their studies.
Find out if you could help yourself with the EMA. Speak to your guidance teacher or bursary office about how you get an application form, or find out more at

If your family earns up to £24,421 a year - or £26,884 if you have siblings - you could be eligible, depending on the course you’re studying or if you are on an Activity Agreement.

The payment is based on attendance and on you fulfilling any learning agreement you may have.

EMA Programme Expanded


The EMA programme was expanded in January 2016 to support more young people. The income thresholds were raised and part-time non-advanced college courses were included.  Local authorities and colleges deliver the programme on behalf of the Scottish Government.


The weekly payment of £30 is based on 100% attendance and fulfilling the terms of learning agreements. Learning agreements give local authorities and colleges discretion to offer flexibility to some students based on their circumstances; for example, young carers.

In 2014/15 in Scotland 33,180 school pupils and college students received EMA payments, a decrease of 6% (2,290) from 2013-14 School pupils account for 68% of young people receiving an EMA, with college students making up the remaining 32%. In 2014/15, this translated to 22,530 school pupils and 10,650 college students.