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You may be eligible for an Education Maintenance Allowance if you are aged 16-19 and wish to stay on in education.

Application submission closed on 31 March 2021

New Application Procedures

EMA Applications for 2020/21 are now available. Please remember that if you were in receipt of EMA last year, you need to re-apply this year. Due to COVID-19, our process is changing and would ask you to complete the online EMA application form and provide the following supporting documents.  These can be uploaded at the end of the form (this can either be as a PDF or image taken on a phone). 

Supporting documents required:

  1. Pupil’s passport/birth certificate
  2. Lone Parent Proof (this could be either a Council Tax Notice for 2020/21 which shows a 25% single parent reduction, or your Tax Credit Award notice)
  3. Overall household income for 2019/2020 tax year (this could be your Tax Credit Award Notice dated 2020, which will show overall household income for 2019/2020 tax year; P60 for year end 2020; or alternatively if you are in receipt of benefits then a letter confirming this from Department of Work and Pensions for tax year 2019/2020 is acceptable
  4. Self employment – this will need to be supported by your tax return to HMRC, along with information from an accountant (if applicable)

More information is detailed within the EMA Guidance Notes to help you complete the form.  If you need any further help please email 

Please note – if you are in receipt of benefits, we require the confirmation letter received from DWP for 2019/2020 tax year. Due to the current situation, you do not need to complete pages 15 & 16 at this moment in time, however you are required to send your confirmation letter for 2019/2020 tax year with the application form.

If, for any reason, you cannot access the form electronically then please contact the relevant High School who will be able to organise for a paper copy of the form to be made available to you.

When to apply

  • apply before 30 September if you are 16 before this date
  • apply before 28 February if you are 16 after 30 September

What is an EMA?

An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a Scottish Government initiative aimed at helping young people stay on in education. You may be eligible for an EMA if you are aged 16-19 and attend a West Dunbartonshire school or in receipt of an Activity Agreement.

An EMA is a weekly allowance payable to young people who have achieved 100% attendance per week at school.  It is paid on a 2 weekly basis.

Do you qualify for an EMA?

  • Do you attend school in West Dunbartonshire?
  • Are you aged 16-19 years old?
  • Do you attend school for a minimum of 21 guided hours per week?
  • Are you willing to take part in an approved learning agreement at school?

Income Threshold

The Income Threshold for the EMA programme is shown in the table below.

The Scottish Government have increased income thresholds from 1 January 2016.

The Income Threshold for the EMA programme, academic session 2019-20 are:
Household Income Number of dependent children Award
0 - £24,421 1 £30
0 - £26,884   2+ £30

WDC will increase EMA by £5 per week for every young person paid out in two instalments in January and July. Please contact the EMA section for more information. 

Dependent children are those:

  • up to age of 16
  • and those in full time further or higher education from 16 to the age of 25

Please ensure that you sign the application form AND include all original documentation before posting.

EMA Attendance and Payment dates for 2020/21


  • Please remember that you must make a new application each year if your course lasts more than one year
  • West Dunbartonshire Council will accept no liability for any loss of damage to personal documents 
  • EMA may be available to full time school education and full and part-time non advanced college education. College students should contact their college bursary office directly as West Dunbartonshire Council only administer for schools

Find out more about:

Education Maintenance Allowance in Scotland

You can use this website to find out more information and to check if you are eligible for an EMA.