EMA, Bursaries and Financial Support

Further Education Bursary

Further Education (FE) Bursary is a discretionary grant made by Shetland Islands Council to help a student beyond statutory school leaving age, who is undertaking a qualifying course within Shetland or on the Scottish Mainland.

Apply for a FE Bursary

The application process for Further Education Bursaries for 2023/24 has now closed.  Applications for funding for courses starting in August will open in June 2024.

If you are receiving a bursary for a course on the Scottish Mainland, you can use the below form to claim your travel expenses.

Further Education Bursary - Travel Expenses Claim Form

Our bursary form is an online form and can be accessed using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Bursary Eligibility Information
Household Income Guidance
Types of Care Experience

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Who can apply for funding?

To be eligible for funding, you must:

  • Be beyond the statutory school leaving age and have left school;
  • Be studying a full-time, non-advanced course up to a maximum level of National Certificate (NC) in Shetland or on the Scottish Mainland (only if the course is not available in Shetland);
  • Satisfy the residency requirements contained in the Education (Access Funds) (Scotland) Determinations 2013 or subsequent updates. In most cases, you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the 3 years prior to the start of your course, although some exceptions may apply. If you are moving to Shetland, you will only be eligible if you are resident in Shetland on 30th June prior to your course starting

When should I apply?
Funding applications should be completed as soon as possible and by 31st July, to ensure funding is in place for the start of your course.

Applications and all correct documents must be received no later than 6 weeks after the official start date of your course. Applications received after this date will only be awarded form the date the complete application was received.

What documentary evidence do I need?
On your application you will be advised what documentary evidence is required. If we require further information, we will contact you by email. All students should provide their birth certificate or passport, income details for themselves and where applicable partner, spouse, parents or guardians, eg P60s, Tax Credits, proof of Benefits.

Where do I bring/send these documents?
You can use the upload buttons on the form to submit documents along with your application. Please ensure you upload all pages of these documents. Please scan or take clear photos of all pages of the necessary documents, ensuring that these are clear to read. Do not worry if you do not have all the documents available at the time of submitting the form, you can email any remaining documents to us at childrensservices-finance@shetland.gov.uk

What is the difference between a Bursary and EMA Award?
A further education bursary award is usually awarded if you are 18 years of age or older at the official start date of the course. The first instalment of the bursary award will be paid 2 weeks into the course and then 4 weekly thereafter. Payment of bursary awards are based on your engagement and progress on the course, as well as your attendance.

An Education Maintenance Allowance is usually awarded if you are under 18 years of age at the official start date of the course. EMA is an allowance of £30.00 per week, paid in fortnightly, in arrears into your bank account, provided that your attendance is 100%.

How much is the EMA award?
EMA awards will be based on the total taxable household income.

EMA is not paid during the holiday periods.

Income No. of dependent children in household* Award (per week)
£0 - £24,421 1 £30
£0 - £26,884 2+ £30

* Dependent children are all those up to the age of 16 and those over the age of 16 and up to the age of 25 if they are in full-time education and training.

If your income exceeds the limit for EMA you may still be eligible for assistance with travel and/or course material expenses. You must complete the online application in order for us to assess this. You will only be required to provide proof of identification, for a travel and materials award.

How much is a bursary award?
The maximum rates for bursary are:

Age of student Living in parental home (weekly) Away from parental home (weekly)
Under 18 EMA EMA + £49.91
18-20 £99.35 £125.55
21 and Over or Self-supporting £125.55 £125.55
Care Experienced £225.00 £225.00

How much you may receive is calculated depending on the household income for the complete tax year 2022/23.

Further Education Bursary is paid during all short holidays but not during the summer.

Can I claim travel expenses?
You may be awarded assistance with travel if you are over the age of 22 and live more than 2 miles from the college you will be attending.  If you are under the age of 22 you will be eligible for free burs travel with your Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC).  If you do not have a Young Scot NEC, you can apply here

Travel assistance for studens over 22 will be means tested against your household income.

Will I be eligible for course material expenses?
Course material expenses are for books and/or equipment you may need to student your course. The amount varies form course to course, and is not dependent on household income if you are under 18 at the start date of your course.

Further Information
The Scottish Government has created a new website, which has information on all student funding available in Scotland: Student Information Scotland.