ESA Basics: Key points of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
Arizona’s new law redirects 90 percent of funds the state would have paid to a local public school district into accounts controlled by the parents of qualifying disabled children.
Who is eligible?
Special-needs students who are Arizona residents and attended a public or charter school for at least 100 days last year, or who received a scholarship through a school tuition organization last year.
What qualifies as a disability?
The child must be identified as having a disability under federal or state law.
How much will the parent receive?
The amount will vary depending on the child’s circumstances. State officials estimate payments into the accounts will range from about $5,000 per year for children with mild disabilities to about $26,600 for those with multiple and severe conditions.
Are there other conditions?
Parents must sign a written agreement not to enroll the child in any public or charter school, or to receive money from a school tuition organization. To prevent fraud, parents will also need to submit documentation on how the money is spent to the state.
How can the money be spent?
Parents may choose educational options that, at a minimum, must include instruction in reading, math, social studies and science. Potential uses for the money include private school tuition, books, licensed therapists or online learning programs. Money left in the account after the child finishes high school may be used for college expenses.
How to apply:
Forms and other information are available online at the Arizona Department of Education.
What’s the deadline to apply?
State education officials say they need the initial application no later than July 27, and all paperwork must be turned in to the education department no later than August 1. The Arizona Department of Education must notify parents who qualify by August 1.
For more information:
Arizona Department of Education