Frequently asked questions

Education Maintenance Allowance

  1. Why do you need my parents/partners National Insurance Number?

    We ask for your parents National Insurance Number so that we can check their income with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and speed-up the application process.  This also means you do not need to send any financial evidence with your application.

  2. How is my household income checked?

    Household Income is the combined total taxable income of your parents that you live with or if you live with a partner then both yours and your partner's.  We will use the total taxable household income to determine the level of support you are entitled to.  The household income is passed to HMRC to confirm if it matches their records.  In some cases if the household income doesn’t match, we will contact you to ask for further evidence.  Don’t worry if this happens, it is part of our checks to make sure you get the funding you are entitled to.  Please send any new evidence to us straight away so we can finish the assessment and make the first payment on time.

  3. Will I get my payments during school holidays?

    No. You must be in attendance at school or college to get your EMA payments.

  4. I am not attending school, will I still get EMA?

    To get EMA payments, you must have your attendance confirmed by your school or college. This applies to pupils not attending school due to expulsion, suspension, illness or other reasons. The school or college is responsible for this decision. You should contact your school or college with any questions about attendance.

  5. How old do I need to be to get EMA?

    For courses starting from September 2016, you need to be aged between 16 and 18 on 31 August 2016.

    If you are 19 or older on this date, you may be able to get Welsh Government Learning Grant FE instead. You can find out more about Welsh Government Learning Grant FE in this section:

    You can use our FE calculator to work out which you should apply for.

  6. What benefits are taken into account when adding up my household income?

    Only these Taxable Social Security Benefits should be included:

    • Retirement Pension
    • Widowed Parents Allowance
    • Carer’s Allowance
    • Industrial Death Benefit
    • Incapacity Benefit (after 28 weeks)
    • Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Bereavement Benefit
    • Job Seekers Allowance
  7. How do I work out my household income?

    If you are a dependant student you can work out your household income by adding up the income of your parent(s) and/or guardian(s) from:

    • Salaries and wages
    • Self- Employment Income
    • Taxable Social Security Benefits
    • Other income sources, such as trust income.

    You then take away any allowable deductions. These are:

    • Private pension contributions.
    • Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).
    • Wages for domestic help because of incapacity.
    • Expenses incurred on which a tax exemption was claimed.

    For example:

    • Mother’s income of £8,000 + Father’s income of £12,000 = Household income of £20,000
    • Father has £1,000 in private pension contributions, which is an allowable deduction.
    • Household income of £20,000 – allowable deduction of £1,000 = Total household income of £19,000

    Do not include income for parents or step-parents that don’t permanently live with you.

    If you are an independent student you do the same as above, except you need to use your income plus your partner’s, if you have one.

  8. Should I include bonuses and overtime in my household income?

    Yes, bonuses and overtime count as earned income

  9. What happens if someone joins my household?

    You should contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050 and tell them about this change. If for example, your mum or dad got re-married, their new partner’s income may affect your EMA entitlement.

  10. I got EMA last year and I am applying again this year, do I need to send in evidence again?

    You do not need to send us any evidence of your identity, such as your Birth Certificate. But, we may need evidence of your household income.

    You may not need to complete an application form to re-apply for EMA this year. Contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050 if you have not yet received a letter from us about re-applying for EMA in 2016/17 by the end of June 2016.

  11. Where should I send my application form?

    You should send your form to:

    EMA Wales Customer Services  
    PO Box 5596
    Glasgow
    G52 9BR

    You must remember to pay the correct postage before you post your EMA application. The application form and envelope should be weighed and the correct postage paid or this will delay when we receive your application. This could mean a delay to the start of your payments.

    The application is your responsibility, so you must make sure it is sent. Remember, you are sending important original documents, so it’s worth getting proof of postage from your post office. You may also consider sending your application by recorded delivery.

  12. When do I start getting payments?

    You can start getting EMA payments as soon as you start your course(s), as long as you:

    • apply on time;
    • agree and sign EMA Agreement (previously know as Learning Agreement) with your school or college; and
    • meet your attendance requirements

    Once we approve your application your school or college needs to confirm you have attended. Then payments will be made to your bank or building society account fortnightly.

  13. What should I do if my household income changes during my course?

    Please contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050.

  14. I have received my award letter but no payments, what’s happened?

    You must sign an EMA Agreement (previously known as Learning Agreement) at your school or college to receive payments. This is an agreement between you and your school or college. It details the attendance and behaviour objectives required to qualify for EMA.

    If you have signed your EMA Agreement see the other questions on this page about payments for more help. If you have not signed this you should contact the EMA administrator at your school or college

  15. I was expecting a payment but I have not been paid, why?

    You should contact the EMA administrator at your school or college if you do not receive your usual payment.

  16. My friend received a payment and I did not, why?

    In order to pay you we require attendance details from your school or college no later than 5pm on the Wednesday before the payment date. If you have not been paid and your friend has it is either because:

    • Your attendance details from your school or college were not received on time; or
    • You attendance details are either ‘not in attendance’ or ‘on holiday’.

    You should contact the EMA administrator at your school or college if you have any questions about your attendance.

    If you give us your mobile number we can text you about your payments.

  17. My school or college has said that they are unable to confirm my attendance as my name does not appear on their system. What should I do?

    We may have an incorrect school or college on your file. You should contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050 to confirm the name and address of your school or college.

  18. I was off for one day last week; does that mean that I will be marked as ‘not in attendance’ for the whole week?

    Your school or college confirms attendance after taking into account the attendance criteria that was set out in your Learning Agreement.

    Please contact the EMA administrator at your school or college if you have any questions about your attendance.

  19. I was on holiday all of last week, do I get paid?

    If you are on holiday from school or college you will not receive an EMA payment.

  20. My EMA has not been backdated to the start of the year, why?

    The reasons for this could be:

    • We did not receive your application form within 8 weeks of you starting your course. If your application is received after this you will receive EMA payments from the Monday after we receive your form;
    • If you are a returner, you have not signed your EMA Agreement (previously known as Learning Agreement) within 8 weeks; or
    • Your school or college has not confirmed your attendance from the start of the academic year.
  21. I have changed school or college. What should I do?

    You should contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050.

  22. I would like to change the bank account used for my EMA payments, how do I do this?

    You should contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050 and provide your new bank details including sort code, account number & roll number (if applicable).

    Important: to change bank details we need 5 working days notice.

  23. One of my parents/guardians was recently made redundant. Will this affect my EMA?

    If you don’t currently receive EMA because your parents/guardian income is below the threshold you may now be entitled to apply for EMA payments. You should contact the customer service team on 0300 200 4050 to request a Change of Circumstances form.

  24. What if my circumstances change?

    If your circumstances change during the year you should inform us by completing a Change of Circumstances form.

  25. What counts as a change of circumstances?

    You should tell us if any of the following changes happen to you during the year:

    • You are now responsible for a child.
    • You are now living under Local Authority Care.
    • You are now financially supporting yourself via:
      • Employment/Self Employment earnings;
      • Taxable Benefits;
      • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance in your own name.
    • There has been a permanent drop in household income because:
      • Your parents have separated or divorced;
      • One or both of your parents are deceased;
      • One or both of your parents are now disabled;
      • Your household earnings or benefits have recently changed.
  26. When should I tell you about a change of circumstances?

    You should apply as soon as your circumstances have changed

    If your change of circumstance is due to a deceased parent/guardian/partner, the birth of a child or a new sibling, the change will apply from the date the change of circumstances occurred.

    Any revised award due to a reduction in household income shall only apply from the date that the Change of Circumstances form is received.

  27. How do I get a Change of Circumstances form?

    You can get this form by calling the customer service team on 0300 200 4050.

Welsh Government Learning Grant Further Education

  1. Why do you need my parents/partners National Insurance Number?

    We ask for your parents National Insurance Number so that we can check their income with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and speed-up the application process.  This also means you do not need to send any financial evidence with your application.

  2. How is my household income checked?

    Household Income is the combined total taxable income of your parents that you live with or if you live with a partner then the higher of the two incomes will be assessed.  We will use the total taxable household income to determine the level of support you are entitled to.  The household income is passed to HMRC to confirm if it matches their records.  In some cases if the household income doesn’t match, we will contact you to ask for further evidence.  Don’t worry if this happens, it is part of our checks to make sure you get the funding you are entitled to.  Please send any new evidence to us straight away so we can finish the assessment and make the first payment on time.

  3. Where should I send my application form?

    Student Finance Wales FE Customer Services
    PO Box 5597
    Glasgow
    G52 9BS

  4. What evidence can I send to prove a separation?

    If you have separated from a spouse or partner, you need to send us evidence.

    If you are divorced we need:

    • your decree absolute;
    • a dissolution order; or
    • a letter from your solicitor confirming your status.

    If you are separated we need:

    • a letter from your solicitor confirming your status.

    If your Civil Partnership has been dissolved:

    • your dissolution order; or
    • a letter from your solicitor confirming your status.
  5. What Nationality documents do I need to apply for WGLG FE?

    There are a number of statuses that would mean you are able to apply for WGLGFE. You can get details from the guidance notes which go with the application form. You may need to send appropriate evidence to confirm your Home Office status.

  6. I haven’t got my payments yet, can you tell me why?

    We cannot make payments to you until you have completed a WGLG FE Agreement (previously known as Learning Grant Agreement) and we get confirmation of your attendance from your college. You will need to speak to your college about these issues.

  7. I am not from the UK, am I eligible for WGLG FE?

    You can apply for WGLGFE, if you have lived in the UK for 3 years before the start of your course(s). There are some other cases, where you may be eligible but not lived in the UK for 3 years. You can check the guidance notes that go with the application form.

  8. I currently get EMA; does this mean I can’t apply for WGLG FE?

    You can’t get EMA and WGLGFE at the same time. You can still apply for WGLGFE for next year, if you are currently getting EMA.

  9. I am under 25, but I have supported myself for 3 years- what do I need to do?

    You need to apply as an independent student, and provide evidence that you supported yourself for 3 years. For example, you will need to provide P60s for the full 3 years. If you cannot provide evidence of support for the 3 years before you started your course(s), you will be considered a dependant student. Dependent students need to supply their parents(s) household income with evidence.

  10. Will WGLG FE affect the benefits I am claiming?

    WGLG FE is passported against benefits, which means that receipt of WGLG FE will not affect any benefits entitlement.

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