Education Maintenance Allowances 2016-17

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published statistics on Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) in the academic year 2016-17. EMA provides financial support for young people from low-income households to overcome financial barriers to participate in appropriate school or college courses or an activity agreement.

Key findings include:

  • 31,675 school pupils, college students and individuals on activity agreements received EMA payments in Scotland in the academic year 2016-17, a slight decrease of 0.2% (-60) from 31,735 in 2015-16.
  • School pupils account for 63.5% of young people in receipt of EMA payment, 32.2% being college students and the remaining 4.3% are young people on activity agreements.
  • Of all 16-19 year old school pupils in Scotland, 29% received EMA payments in 2016-17.
  • Of the potentially eligible 16-19 year old college students in Scotland, 33% received EMA payments in 2016-17.
  • The proportion of EMA recipients living in Scotland’s 20% most deprived areas in 2016-17 increased to 36.8% (11,615). Among school pupils and those with an activity agreements receiving EMA, 34.9% (7,460) were living in the 20% most deprived areas, while 40.8% (4,155) of college students receiving EMA were living in the 20% most deprived areas.
  • The total amount spent on EMA payments in 2016-17 was £24.6 million, a decrease of £137,855 from £24.8 million in 2015-16. Of this, £17.3 million (70.1%) was paid out to school pupils and those with an activity agreement, and the remaining £7.4 million (29.9%) paid out to young people attending college.


This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

The full National Statistics publication can be accessed at:

Additional information on Education Maintenance Allowances in Scotland can be found at:

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