2. EMA recipients
Types of EMA
For a young person to receive EMA support they must first meet all the eligibility criteria. This includes meeting residency criteria; having a household income under the EMA income threshold; be of an eligible age, and be taking part in an eligible course of learning.
In 2017-18 there were 29,135 young people who received EMA payments, a decrease of 8.0% from 2016-17. Figure 1 shows how the number of recipients, by institution type, has changed over time.
Figure 1: EMA recipients by type, 2006-07 to 2017-18
Note: it is not possible to differentiate between the number of recipients from schools or activity agreements prior to 2016-17.
In 2017-18, 64.2% of EMA recipients were school pupils, 31.3% were college students and the remaining 4.5% were young people on activity agreements.
Of all school pupils in Scotland aged 16 to 19, 27% received at least one EMA payment in 2017-18.
Of the potentially eligible full time college students aged 16 to 19, 31% received at least one EMA payment in 2017-18.
Historically more females than males have claimed EMA. In 2017-18, 50.6% of overall EMA recipients were female and 49.4% were male. For schools only, 51.6% of recipients were female. However, for the first time, the majority of EMA recipients amongst college students were male in 2017-18 (50.3%), an increase from 49.1% in 2016-17.
In 2017-18, 46.4% of EMA recipients were 16 years old and 33.9% were 17 years old. Only 6.0% of recipients were aged 18 years and over.
Young people cannot receive EMA until they reach 16 years of age. However, as the analysis is based on age as at 30th September of the academic year, some recipients are recorded as being 15 years old.
There has been a notable drop in 18 year old recipients at college. This is likely to decrease further in later years as colleges are expected to provide bursaries for 18 year olds.
Deprivation is measured using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
There was an increase in the proportion of EMA recipients from the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland from 2016-17; up from 36.8% to 37.2%.
Due to the overall decrease in EMA recipients however, the actual number of recipients from these areas has gone down by 805 to 10,810.
Figure 2: EMA recipients from 20% most deprived areas by type, 2006-07 to 2017-18
Figure 2 shows the proportion of recipients from the 20% most deprived areas over time, and shows an increase for all types of EMA over the year for all institution types.
This proportion has typically been higher for college (41.9% in 2017-18) than for school (34.2%) students. This is partly explained by the higher proportion of students at Scotland's colleges from deprived areas.