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

New Application Procedures

EMA Applications for 2024/25 are now available.

Please remember that if you were in receipt of EMA last year, you need to re-apply this year. Our process has changed 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).

Education Maintenance Allowance Application

If, for any reason, you cannot access the form electronically then please contact

Supporting documents required:

  1. Pupil’s passport/birth certificate
  2. Lone Parent Proof (this could be either a Council Tax Notice for 2024/25 which shows a 25% single parent reduction, or your Tax Credit Award notice).
  3. Overall household income for 2023/2024 tax year (this could be your Tax Credit Award Notice – TC602 for 2024/25 which shows household income for 2023/24; P60 for year end 2024-; or alternatively if you are in receipt of benefits then a letter confirming this from Department of Work and Pensions for tax year 2023/2024 is acceptable). If you are in receipt of Universal Credits, please provide the journal showing your income for tax year 2023/24.
  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 2023/2024 tax year. Due to the current situation, you do not need to complete pages 15 & 16 of the application form at this moment in time, however you are required to send your confirmation letter for 2022/23 tax year with the form.

West Dunbartonshire Council has agreed to pay an additional £10 per week if a WDC pupil is a registered “Young carer” and receives a Young Carers Grant. They will be entitled to an additional £10 per week. Evidence for example Young Carers Grant letter / evidence of payment on bank statement etc. will be required.

When to apply

  • If you were born between 1st March 2005 and 30th September 2008, you may be eligible for an award starting August 2024.
  • If you were born between 1st October 2008 and 28th February 2009, you may be eligible for an award starting January 2025.

For those eligible for a full year award (starting in August 2024), if the application is not submitted before 30th September 2024, the award can only be made from the week it is received by the EMA Team.

For those who are eligible from January 2025, if the application is not submitted before 28th February 2025, the award can only be made from the week it is received by the EMA Team.

Please note, all applications for Session 2024/25 can be submitted now, even if you are not eligible to receive EMA until January 2025. This will allow the EMA Team to process applications in a timeous manner.

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 2024-25 are:

EMA Thresholds
Household Income Number of dependent children Award

0 - £24,421



0 - £26,884



WDC will increase EMA by £10 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.  If you need any further assistance please email

EMA Attendance and Payment dates for 2024/25


  • 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.