ESA Background and data by Jenny Clark at Love Your School (https://www.loveyourschool.org)
20th May, 2023
State K-12 Scholarship Programs
Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account Program
- The Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account Program is an education savings account (ESA) program that will be available to all K–12 students in Arkansas by 2025. There are a phase one and a phase two of this program with different eligibility. This ESA can be used to pay for educational expenses, private school tuition and education goods and services. The initial account value will be around $6,600 and families who opt out of public school can receive the scholarship.
This program begins in 2024. The website and application for this program are still being set-up by the state of Arkansas, but you can view more about the LEARNS Act, which was the legislation that established this ESA here.
Last updated May 18, 2023
Empowerment Scholarship Account program (ESA).
- The Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account program allows every K-12 student in Arizona to qualify for a portion(90%) of the state’s per student allocation of education funding. Children are eligible at age 5 (Kinder) up to graduation or age 22, whichever comes first. Arizona’s ESA award amount ranges from $7,000 per year up to $30,000 per year - it’s the most flexible program in the nation because families with a diagnosis receive more funding, and funds are rolled over every single year, and can be used for up to four years after graduation for post-secondary education. Applications for the Arizona ESA are accepted year round and families who opt-out of public school can receive the scholarship. To receive support for the Arizona ESA program application or additional questions, contact Love Your School.
Tuition Tax Credit Program
- Arizona allows families to apply for scholarships from School Tuition Organizations (STOs) each year to receive scholarships to cover the cost of private school tuition only. Scholarships may go up to the amount of the posted school’s tuition, but can not be used for therapies, textbooks, or private tutoring. Families can apply for scholarships from as many STOs as they would like, with the total amount of scholarships allowed to be received each school year not exceeding the posted tuition. Families can apply for four different “pools” of scholarship funds - which is explained here by the Arizona School Tuition Organization Association.
Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options
Hope Scholarship Program
Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (ESA)
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
- The state of Florida has several ESA and tax credit programs for families. Florida passed a bill in 2023 that made every student eligible for an ESA in the state. Florida’s bill gives parents $8,000 to use for qualified education expenses such as private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, and home education.
- To learn more about the four scholarship options in Florida, visit Step-Up-For-Students, the exclusive administrator of the Florida scholarship programs.
Education Scholarship Account Program
- The Indiana ESA program is available to students between the ages of 5 - 22 with an IEP, CP, or CSEP and whose family income doe not exceed the income requirement of 400% of the Federal Free or Reduced School Meals limit. Funds can be used for educational therapies, classes, transportation, curriculum, and more. Award amounts are determined by the district funding and percentage, and the funding chart is available here. Families must apply by September 1st and the eligible student can not be enrolled in a public school while receiving the ESA. Families may roll over up to $1,000 per year.
Students First Education Savings Accounts
- The Iowa ESA Program was established in 2023 and applications open May 31st and close June 30th. Iowa has a rolling enrollment that broadens in 2024, 2025, and 2026. Eligibility for year one (2023) is: all entering kindergarten students, all students enrolled in a public school, all students enrolled in an accredited nonpublic school with a household income at or below 300% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines, $90,000 for a family of four. The scholarship for 2023-24 is approximately $7,635 per student. Funds can be used for private school tuition at an accredited private school. Families may renew their application each year for funding for the following school year.
Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program
- The Missouri tax credit scholarship program is called MoScholars. The law provides state tax credits for contributions to approved, non-profit Educational Assistance Organizations (EAOs) for up to $6,375 for 2023-24. EAOs use the contributions from taxpayers to award scholarships to students who have an IEP. Students who live in a household whose total annual income does not exceed an amount equal to 100% of the income standard used to qualify for free and reduced lunches also qualify, but they must also have attended a public school as a full-time student for at least one semester during the previous twelve months; or be entering kinder or first grade.
Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program
- The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program, an education savings account program, allows Mississippi K-12 students with special needs to receive a portion of their public funding in a government-authorized savings account with multiple uses. Students can not be enrolled in a public school while on the scholarship. The funding per year is approximately 6,779.00 and this amount is re-calculated each year. There is a cap on the number of scholarships, so families should apply between December through May for the following school year. The allowable expenses for this scholarship are very specific and may be found here.
Education Freedom Account Program
- The New Hampshire EFA Program is unique and run by the Children’s First Scholarship Fund. NH families qualify if their student is between ages 5 - 20 and entering Kindergarten. A family’s income must be at or below 300% of the federal poverty level guidelines to qualify. Families who qualify must leave the public school system to receive their scholarship, and applications are due July 17th but residents can apply after this date for a pro-rated amount. Funds may be used for private school tuition, education materials, online programs and other educational expenses deemed appropriate by CFSF. The scholarship amount is approximately $3,400 base state adequacy aid plus any qualifying differentiated aid that a child is eligible to receive which can range from $600 to $1800 in additional funds.
Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program
- The North Carolina ESA program is open to families with a student who has a disability. The funds can be used for private school tuition and fees, therapies, tutoring services, and education technology items. Families may home educate with the funds and children must be at least age 5.Program requirements may be viewed here. Priority applications are due in March for the following year, and awards are emailed in May. The award amount can vary based on diagnosis, from $9,000 to $17,000 per year. The program does have a cap based on available funding, so families are encouraged to apply during the priority window. Students may not be enrolled in public school while receiving the NC ESA. There is an additional program in North Carolina called Opportunity Scholarships that has household income eligibility. Those guidelines can be found here.
South Carolina Education Scholarship Trust Fund
- This brand new ESA was passed in 2023 and goes into effect in 2024-25 and allows qualifying students $6,000 per year to use on private school tuition, tutoring, therapies, and other education expenses. There are federal poverty guideline limits in the first few years, and a cap on scholarships. The first year, family’s whose income is less than 200 percent of the FPL qualify, and in year two, that moves to 300 percent. In year three, family’s whose income is less than 400 percent of the FPL will qualify. The program is limited to 5,000 scholarships in year one and this goes up to 10,000 in year two, and 15,000 in year three. The state website for this program has not yet been established as of May 2023.
Education Savings Account Pilot Program
- The Tennessee Education Savings Account Program. The program allows families who qualify to use state and local funds towards education expenses, including tuition, at private schools. The program includes Shelby County, Metro Nashville County, or a school in the Achievement School District.This was expanded in 2023 to include students who have been enrolled in a Tennessee public school for an entire school year from 2019 to 2022 or who were eligible to enroll in a Tennessee public school for the first time between 2019 and 2022. Applications can be printed and mailed to the Treasurer’s office and become available in May of each year. Tennessee also has an Individualized Education Account Program that is for students with a disability and provides funds for educational expenses and therapies.
Utah Fits All Scholarship Program
- The UT Fits All Scholarship Program was passed in 2023 and allows qualifying Utah families (any K-12 eligible student) the option to take a scholarship and utilize funds for private school tuition, educational expenses and more.In the first year which is 2024-25, 5,000 scholarships will be awarded. Applications for this program are not yet available, and a non-profit program administrator will be selected in 2023 to set up the program for the state.
The Hope Scholarship
The Hope Scholarship allows qualifying West Virginia families the ability to take their education dollars, approximately $4600, to the private school or home education environment of their choice. Funds can be used for tuition, therapies, and education items. Families must be switching from public school to qualify unless the child is kinder aged and have been enrolled full-time and attending a public elementary or secondary school in West Virginia for at least 45 consecutive calendar days at the time of application. All Hope Scholarship participants must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) form to the county superintendent of their county of residence. You can find the contact information for the county superintendent here. Applications open March 1st each year and are due by May 15th.