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.
What's happening to EMA?
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is being scrapped in England and will be replaced by Learner Support Funds which will be available through your school or college. Students in Scotland will continue to get EMA, but EMA in Wales and Northern Ireland is under review - keep checking the websites for EMA in Northern Ireland and EMA in Wales for updates.
If you applied for EMA for this academic year (2010-2011) you will receive payments until the end of the academic year.
What is it?
EMA is a means-tested benefit for students who stay on at school or college after their GCSEs in England. Details of EMA arrangements if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland are available on the DirectGov website. 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. The scheme is aimed at getting students from lower-income families to stay on in education.
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
- Enrolled in or a LSC-funded diploma or Entry to Employment course (and if you're on an e2e course you'll get the maximum £30 a week, no matter what your household income is)
- 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 nidirect.gov.uk or StudentFinanceWales.
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