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Studying for course

Education Maintenance Allowance

EMA is being scrapped in England, but you can still get up to £30 a week to go to college in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

EMA in the UK

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in England has been replaced by the 16-19 Bursary Fund available through your school or college. EMA is still available to students in Northern Ireland and  Wales

What is it?

EMA is a means-tested benefit for students aged 16-19 who stay on at school or college after their GCSEs.  In addition if you are over 19 and live in Wales you may be eligible for an Assembly Learning Grant, which you can apply for online.

Unlike Child Benefit, which is paid to parents, EMA is paid direct into your own bank account, so you can spend it on exactly what you want.

How much will I get?

  • If your household income is up to £20,817 per year, you get £30 per week
  • If your household income is between £20,818 and £25,521 per year, you get £20 per week
  • If it's between £25,522 and £30,810 per year, you get £10 per week
  • It's bad luck if your household income is over £30,810 as you will not be entitled to anything

If you do well and reach targets set by your teacher or tutor, you may also get bonuses throughout the year.

Who is eligible?

You have to be aged 16-19 and have left - or be about to leave - compulsory education. You also have to have:

  • A household income under £30,810 per year (but any money you earn from a part-time job isn't counted towards this)
  • Enrolled in  full-time further education at a school or college
  • You must also be a UK national have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or have refugee status
  • Some students from EU countries who are studying here may also be eligible, as long as they have been resident in the EU for less than three years before applying for EMA

How do I claim?

Ask at your school or college about EMA. You will need to open a bank account as the details will be required with your application form. You can get an application form from your teacher, you can download an application from or StudentFinanceWales.

Updated: 12/08/2013

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