1. Background information on Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs)
1. The EMA programme aims to provide support for young people aged 16 to 19 from low income families to overcome financial barriers to stay on in post-16 education, either in school or on a college course.
2. The programme is an entitlement and demand led programme which is administered by local authorities and colleges on behalf of Scottish Ministers. A weekly payment of £30 is made to a young person and is subject to attendance and agreement of a learning plan.
3. EMAs were introduced across Scotland from August 2004 for 16 year olds. In academic year 2005-06 eligibility was extended to include all 17 year olds and in academic year 2006-07 eligibility was further extended to include 18 year olds. Full roll out to 19 year olds was completed in 2007-08.
4. Initially, the EMA consisted of both weekly payments and additional bonus payments to recipients. The weekly payments consisted of £10, £20 and £30 categories, dependent on the household income of the recipient. Following satisfactory attendance and completion of a learning agreement, additional bonus payments of £150 each were payable in January and June.
5. In 2009 changes were made to the EMA programme in response to the Scottish Government's '16+ Learning Choices - First Step Activity and Financial Support' consultation. The £10 and £20 payments were removed and the income threshold for the £30 payment was aligned with that of the 'away from home' element of further education bursaries (£20,351). An additional, higher income threshold (£22,403) was also introduced for families with more than one dependent child. These changes were introduced for new entrants to the EMA programme at the beginning of the academic year 2009-10 and are reflected in this publication.
6. In June 2010 the Scottish Government announced that as of the 2010-11 academic year, EMA bonus payments would be withdrawn from all recipients (both new and existing).
7. On 1 January 2016, the EMA programme was extended to include part-time non-advanced college courses and income thresholds were increased to £24,421 for families with one dependent child and to £26,884 for families with more than one dependent child in the household. Next year's edition of this publication, which relates to academic year 2015-16, will cover this period of expansion.
8. Additional information on Education Maintenance Allowance in Scotland can be found at: http://www.emascotland.com/
Email: Ryan Scott