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Apply for EMA

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If you’re 16, 17 or 18, Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) could provide real help with your learning costs. If you’re eligible, it’s easy to get your hands on the money. But apply as soon as possible: otherwise you may have to wait longer for payments. If you're studying in England, just follow these simple steps.

Check whether you need to fill in an application form this year

Four simple steps to getting EMA

  • check whether you need to complete an application form this year
  • get hold of a form, fill it in and return it
  • open a bank account, if you don't have one already
  • make sure you take your 'Notice of Entitlement' with you when you start your course

Did you get EMA last year?

If you got EMA for 2009/10, you may not need to complete another application form for 2010/11.

Who needs to complete an application form for 2010/11?

You’ll need to fill in a 2010/11 application form if:

  • you haven’t applied for EMA before – or you weren’t entitled to it in 2009/10, but think you might be now
  • you got EMA for 2009/10, but you think you may be entitled to a higher level of support this year because your household income circumstances have changed
  • you got EMA for 2009/10 because you were doing an Entry to Employment (e2e) programme

Who doesn’t need to complete an application form for 2010/11?

The ‘EMA guarantee’ means you automatically get EMA payments at the same rate for up to three years, even if your household income goes up. This applies up to the year in which you reach 19.

So if you got EMA last year, you weren’t doing an e2e programme and your circumstances haven’t changed, you don’t need to complete a form for 2010/11. Just enrol at your learning provider for 2010/11, and you’ll continue to get your EMA payments. 

Need to talk to someone?

See ‘EMA: how much and how often’ for a guide to how much EMA you’re likely to get for 2010/11, based on your circumstances. If you’re not sure whether you're eligible – or whether you need to fill in the form - call the Learner Support helpline on 0800 121 8989.

How to apply

Make sure you’re applying for the right EMA scheme

This page outlines how to apply for EMA if you’re studying in England.

If you’re studying in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, don't use the application form for people studying in England: you’ll need to apply to the EMA scheme for the country you intend to study in. See 'EMA in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales' to find out how.

Get your EMA application pack for 2010/11

If you're studying in England, the easiest way to get an application pack for 2010/11 is to request one online.

You can also get an application pack by:

  • calling the Learner Support helpline on 0800 121 8989
  • picking one up at your school, college, learning provider or Connexions office

Applications for 2009/10

It's still possible to get an application pack for 2009/10 from the Learner Support helpline: call 0800 121 8989.

When to apply

Assuming you’re eligible, the sooner you apply the sooner you’ll get your money.

You can apply for EMA at any time during the year, but if you want your payments backdated to the start of your course or learning programme you’ll need to apply within 28 days of the start date of the course.

Completing parent or carer details

Once you’ve completed the EMA application form, your parent or carer will need to supply evidence of the household income for the relevant tax year (for 2010/11 EMA applications, the relevant tax year will be 2009-10).

This might mean them sending in their Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602), or P60.

Get a bank account

To get EMA, you’ll need a bank or building society account and the evidence to prove it (for example, an account statement or letter with your name, address and bank details).

If you haven’t opened a bank account yet, EMA is a good reason to get one.

What happens next?

If you are eligible for EMA, you’ll be sent a Notice of Entitlement (NOE) confirming how much you’ll get per week. It's important to keep your NOE safe: you won’t be able to claim EMA without it.

Take your NOE with you when you enrol on your course or learning programme.

Your school, college or learning provider will also ask you to sign a learning agreement, setting out what is expected of you in terms of attendance, behaviour, coursework and progress.

Not satisfied with how your EMA application was handled?

If you're not completely satisfied with how your application was handled, call the Learner Support helpline on 0800 121 8989. It's staffed by advisers who will be happy to help solve your problem.

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