Education Maintenance Allowance

Education Maintenance Allowance is money that young people in Wales aged 16–18 can claim to support their full-time education.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is funding that’s available to help young people aged 16-18 in Wales continue their education after school-leaving age.

A young person can claim EMA if they are studying up to Level 3 in education, which includes:

  • GCSEs
  • AS-Levels or A-Levels
  • Basic skills courses
  • Independent Living Skills courses

You should be a UK citizen living in Wales to qualify, and your course doesn’t have to take place in Wales. Sometimes non-UK citizens living in Wales can get EMA.

Household income

As well as the age and course eligibility criteria, your household income is considered when making the decision to award Education Maintenance Allowance.

The rules say:

  • if you care for more than one child, your household income shouldn’t be greater than £20,817
  • if you care for more than one child, your annual household income must be £23,077 or less

When to apply

Because EMA is awarded on an annual basis, the young person you care for needs to apply for the allowance before their course starts.

Apply for Education Maintenance Allowance (Cyllid Myfyrwyr Cymru/Student Finance Wales)

Support from Kinship

Here at Kinship, we offer a range of free support for all kinship carers, including workshops, online advice and information, and peer support groups.

Contact our advice service to speak to an adviser or book an appointment.