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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.

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.

What is an EMA?

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.

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 December 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


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?

To apply for an EMA:

  • read the guidance notes
  • complete the application form electronically
  • print the completed form and post to Educational Services at the address shown in the contact section or bring in person to the Council Offices, 16 Church Street, Dumbarton, G82 1QL
  • apply before 30 September if you are 16 before this date
  • apply before 28 February if you are 16 after 30 September
  • Forms are also available from your school or Education, Learning and Attainment at the Council Offices, 16 Church Street, Dumbarton from the beginning of June.

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


  • 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.