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Returning Students

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have extended the deadline for you to be eligible to receive backdated payments:

  • New students – apply within 13 weeks of starting your course.
  • Continuing students – sign an EMA agreement within 13 weeks of starting your course.

If you cannot attend your school or college to sign an EMA agreement, speak to them to make different arrangements.

I applied for EMA last year, how do I reapply for EMA in 2020 to 2021?

If you got EMA last year you don’t have to complete another application form this year, we will send you a letter about your EMA award for 2020 to 2021. Once you’ve received the letter check all the details on it are correct. If you need to change anything please call the customer services team immediately on 0300 200 4050.

If all the information on the letter is correct the next thing you need to do is sign your EMA Agreement when you return to school or college.

  • You must sign your EMA Agreement within 8 weeks of starting your course to get backdated payments.
  • You must meet the attendance rules and objectives of your EMA Agreement in order for you to receive your EMA.
  • Your school or college must confirm your attendance to us in order for you to receive your EMA.

If you’ve not received your EMA award letter by the end of June 2020 please call the customer services team on 0300 200 4050.

How much can I get?

You could get EMA of £30 a week, paid every 2 weeks, depending on your total household income.

The following table shows the household income thresholds that apply depending on your family circumstances.

Household Income No of Dependent Children Award
£0-£20,817 1 £30
£20,818+ 1 £0
£0-£23,077 2+ £30
£23,078 1+ £0

What is my total household income?

The way we work out your total household income is determined by whether you are a dependent or an independent student.

You are a dependent student if you rely financially on your parents. Your total household income is the income of your parents. You will need to provide evidence to show you depend financially on your parents when you apply or are asked to provide evidence in the form of a:

  • tax credit Award Notification
  • child benefit letter/official organisation

You are an independent student if you:

  • live apart from your parents and have no contact with them, and you are not living under Local Authority care;
  • live under Local Authority care, for example with foster parents;
  • receive income support or universal credit in your own name;
  • are responsible for a child;
  • are classed as a young person in custody; or
  • are employed and living with a partner

Financial evidence check

If your application is approved for academic year 2020 to 2021, we may write to your parent(s)/guardian(s) and ask them to send us original financial evidence to support the information they provided on your application. We may ask for evidence in instances where:

  • your eligibility for EMA last year was based on you having a brother or sister aged 16-20 in your household who remains eligible for child benefit. Your parent(s)/guardian(s) can send either your household’s Child Benefit letter or your household’s Tax Credit Award Notification which lists the siblings in your household.
  • you are subject to both a financial and sibling check. If that happens your parent(s)/guardian(s) would need to provide both sets of evidence as described above.
  • you must return all requested financial evidence by 30 November 2020 or your payments will be blocked.
  • if you do not provide financial evidence by 31 January 2021 you will be rejected from the scheme.

You can find a list of acceptable financial evidence types in this section:

Key dates

July 2020 - You will receive your EMA Award Letter letting you know how much EMA you can get.

November 2020 - If we have requested evidence from you this must be returned by the end of November so you can continue to get EMA.

January 2021 - If we have requested evidence from you and you still haven’t returned it, you may have to pay back any EMA you have received.

August 2021 - We can accept your application until 31 August 2021 for you to receive EMA in academic year 2020 to 2021.

Please note to be eligible for backdated payments:

  • New students – you must apply within 8 weeks of the start of your course
  • Continuing students – you must sign your EMA agreement within 8 weeks of starting your course.

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