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Financial Support for Learners - Education Maintenance Allowance


Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) March 2016


EMAs provide financial support for 16 to 19 year olds from low-income households to overcome financial barriers to participate in appropriate school or college courses or an Activity Agreement. These statistics relate to the 2014-15 academic year. 


Key findings include:


  • 33,180 school pupils and college students received EMA payments in Scotland in the academic year 2014-15, a decrease of 6% (2,290) from 35,470 in 2013-14.

  • School pupils account for 68% of young people in receipt of EMA payment, with the remaining 32% being college students.

  • Of all 16-19 year old school pupils in Scotland, 31% (22,530) received EMA payments in 2014-15. Of all full time 16-19 year old college students, 22% (10,650) received at least one EMA payment in 2014-15.

  • The proportion of EMA recipients living in Scotland’s 20% most deprived areas in 2014-15 was the highest on record at 35% (11,635), although the actual number of recipients decreased by 540 from 12,175 in 2013-14. Among school pupils receiving EMAs, 33% were living in the 20% most deprived areas, while among college students receiving EMAs, 38% were living in the 20% most deprived areas.

  • The total amount spent on EMA payments in 2014-15 was £26.5 million, a decrease of £2.1 million from £28.6 million in 2013-14. Of this, £18.6 million (70%) was paid out to school pupils, and the remaining £7.9 million (30%) was paid out to young people attending college.



Further Information