Educational Maintenance Allowance

Arrangements for the means tested EMA 

There will be changes to the means tested EMA, for all students from academic year 2019/2020. These changes will mean:

  • there will no longer be £10 and £20 awards. The £30 award will remain in place
  • there will be two performance related bonus awards of £100 each; one will be at the end of the first term (in January) and one at the end of the third term (in June)
  • you may be eligible for the £30 award if your household has an income of £20,500 or less, with one dependent child or if your household has an income of £22,500 and there is more than one dependent child
What is EMA?

If you decide to stay on at school or go to a further education college in Northern Ireland, you may be able to get the Education Maintenance Allowance. It is available for both academic and vocational courses EMA is a weekly award of £30 which is paid fortnightly to eligible students who are aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019.

It is paid directly to young people who fall within the households income thresholds listed above and who stay on in education after they reach statutory leaving age which is after the end of their compulsory schooling.

 Who is entitled to EMA?

You can get an EMA if:

  • you are aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on or between 2 July 2018 and 1 July 2019
  • if your household income is £20,500 or less for households with one dependent child
  • if your household income is £22,500 or less for households with more than one dependent child
  • you are full time at school or doing a minimum of 15 guided hours per week at college, studying an eligible course and attending all classes
  • you meet the nationality and residency rules set out in the EMA scheme
  • you have not already received the maximum allowance for EMA

Young people may be entitled to receive their EMA for a maximum of three years, as long as their household income does not rise above the income threshold which applies to your household. The EMA is available over a four year period for those young people who may need additional time in further education to achieve their full potential.

What if I don't get paid?

Please contact your tutor to ensure that your register has been marked up to date in the first instance. If you require further assistance, contact the EMA Officer in your Campus.

Who should I contact on Campus?

EMA officers are available on each campus at Southern Regional College:

Armagh - Finola Rice
Banbridge - Grainne Chambers
Lurgan - Margaret Marshall
Newry - Sinead Cunningham
Portadown - Gillian Mayes

Queries and more information

Go to
Call EMA on 0845 601 7646