Information for parents, guardians and partners

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an income-assessed weekly allowance of £40 a week, to help students aged 16 to 18 with the costs of further education. Payments are made every two weeks, directly to the student’s bank account, if they meet the school or college’s attendance, performance and behaviour requirements.

If anyone in your household receives EMA, these payments will not affect any benefits being paid to you or the student.

Household income thresholds

There are two different household income thresholds. Your family circumstance will determine which one applies to the student.

Household Income Number of dependent children (including the student) Award
£0 - £20,817






£0 - £23,077






What you’ll need to do

For the student to be eligible for EMA, you need to provide household income information in support of their application.

We’ll ask for household income information from 2 tax years ago.


If the student is applying for the 2024 to 2025 academic year, we’ll ask for financial information from the 2022 to 2023 tax year.

Dependent students

We will need your details if the student is financially dependent on you, and you are the student’s:

  • parent/ adoptive parent
  • step-parent
  • guardian
  • parent’s partner

We will not ask for information from any:

  • siblings of the student who are 21 or above, living in the same household as the student
  • parent, step-parent or guardian who does not normally live in the same household as the student (even if they make maintenance payments)

Independent students

If the student does not live with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and you are the student’s partner, you will need to give your financial details on the application form.

Evidence you’ll need to send

If your income has permanently dropped since the 2022 to 2023 tax year, we can assess the student using your current year household income. You’ll need to send evidence to confirm the permanent drop in income. The application guidance notes give more information about the types of evidence you can send.

If there are two parents/guardians in the household, then both must provide evidence of their earnings, even if only one of their incomes has dropped.

As part of the application, you may be asked to send evidence of any other young people in the household. This will help us determine whether the student is eligible for EMA.

The application guidance notes give more information about the types of evidence you can send.

Once the student has been awarded EMA, we may contact them in the future and ask for further evidence. This is to make sure the student continues to be eligible.