Understanding Education Savings Accounts
Your School, Your Choice
The Student First Act, signed into law on January 24, 2023, makes state funding available to support the success of every K-12 student in Iowa. The bill establishes a framework and funding for education savings accounts, which may be used by eligible families to cover tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses at accredited nonpublic schools in Iowa. It also provides public schools additional funding for students who live in their district but attend nonpublic schools.
Who is Eligible?
What is an Education Savings Account?
An Education Savings Account (ESA) is a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts which eligible families may use to cover tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses at accredited nonpublic schools in Iowa. Parents who enroll their eligible children in an accredited nonpublic school will receive an estimated $7,598 per pupil for the 2023-2024 school year. Funds are deposited into the student’s ESA each year until the student graduates high school, or turns 20. At that time, the remaining balance is returned to the state’s general fund.
What are qualified expenses?
Parents and guardians must use ESA payments for qualified educational expenses. Qualified educational expenses include tuition and fees at a nonpublic school, textbook, fees or payments for educational therapies, including tutoring or cognitive skills training, curriculum fees, software, and materials for a course of study for a specific subject matter or grade level, tuition or fees for nonpublic online education programs, tuition for vocational and life skills education approved by the department of education, educational materials and services for pupils with disabilities from an accredited provider, including the cost of paraprofessionals and assistants trained in accordance with state law, standardized test fees, and advanced placement examinations or examinations related to postsecondary education admission or credentialing.
Qualified educational expenses do NOT include transportation costs for the pupil, the cost of food or refreshments consumed by the pupil, the cost of clothing for the pupil, or the cost of disposable materials, including but not limited to paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, and art supplies.
How do I access ESA funds?
The application process is in development now with plans to begin taking applications during the month of May, but a specific date has not yet been announced. Details regarding the application process will be provided later this month to help families prepare to apply. Applications will be due on June 30, 2023, for the 2023-2024 school year. Applications are valid for one year; a family must apply annually to remain eligible for the program. Please visit educateiowa.gov for more information.