Education Savings Account (ESA)

Click here to apply for the ESA.

OPENS :Wednesday, May 31, 2023
CLOSES: Friday, June 30, 2023

- Click for Comprehensive FAQ Sheet
COMPRENSIÓN DE ESA Haga clic para ver la hoja de preguntas frecuentes completa

What is the Student First Act?

The Student First Act makes state education funding available for Iowa K-12 students who choose to attend accredited private schools. It also provides additional funding for students who live in their district but attend private schools.

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 private schools in Iowa. Parents who enroll their eligible children in an accredited private school will receive an $7,635 per pupil for the 2023-2024 school year. Half of the funds ($3,817.50) will be available to pay tuition and approved expenses that occur during the fall 2023 semester and the remaining half will be available for the spring 2024 semester.

Year 1: School Year 2023-2024
All entering kindergarten students
-All students enrolled in a public school
-A student enrolled in a private school with household income at or below 300% of the '23 Federal Poverty Guidelines.


Year 2: School Year 2024-25
-All entering kindergarten student
-All students enrolled in public school
-A student enrolled in private school with a household income at or below 400% of the 2024 Federal Poverty Guidelines that will be updated January 2024

Year 3: School Year 2025-26
-All K-12 students in Iowa regardless of income

Click Here To Apply!
OPEN: Wednesday, May 31, 2023
CLOSED: Friday, June 30, 2023

Q: My child is attending Transitional Kindergarten, are they eligible for ESA funding?
A: Yes! Transitional Kindergarten students should fill out an ESA application.

Q: When does the application open and close?

A: The ESA application will open on May 31, 2023 and accepted through June 30, 2023.

Q: What vendor will be implementing the ESA application?
A: The state has signed a contract with Odyssey to manage program administration.

Q: I have two students attending an Iowa accredited nonpublic school in the 2023-2024 school year. Do I have to create an application for each student?
A: No. Only one application per family is needed. Parents/guardians an add multiple students from their household onto their application.

Q: What line on my Iowa tax form is used to identify household income when determining eligibility for an ESA?
A: On the 2022 Iowa 1040 tax form, line 26 ("Net Income") is used to identify the household income.

Q: How will this work if my child lives in a split household?

A: The first parent or guardian to apply who meets the eligibility requirements will be the parent or guardian under which the ESA is established. For an application to be contested, court documents supporting the contesting person’s position are required for consideration. Note: The percent of custody or parenting time does not determine the parent or guardian that has the authority for educational decisions.

Q: My child is in a preschool program this year ('22-'23). Will he/she qualify for an ESA as an incoming kindergartener this fall?

A: Yes! All incoming kindergarteners are eligible for an ESA in the 23-24 school year regardless of income. ESA funds must be used for an accredited private (nonpublic) school in Iowa.

Q: If my kindergartener is eligible for an ESA in the 23-24 school year, will he/she receive a payment in his ESA again the following year when in first grade?
A: Yes. Once an ESA account is established for a student, funds will be deposited into the account each year as long as they are enrolled in an accredited private school and until the student graduates from high school or turns 20 years of age. 

Q: Once I apply for an ESA, will I need to apply each year?
A: Yes. Families are required to apply annually to remain in the program.

Q: My kids are currently in a public school. Do they qualify for an ESA next school year even if we are above the income level?
A: Yes. All students who currently attend a public school and choose to enroll in an accredited private school for the 2023-2024 school year are eligible regardless of household income.

Q: Our students already attend Gehlen Catholic. When will they be eligible for an ESA?
A: ESA eligibility for students who are currently enrolled in an accredited private school is based on household income during the first two years of the program. For the 2023-2024 school year, families with household incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL) are eligible. The level increases to at or below 400% FPL for the 2024-2025 school year. Beginning in 2025-2026 school year, all K-12 students who already attend an accredited private school are eligible for an ESA regardless of household income.

Q: Our children are currently homeschooled. If we move them to a private school next year, are they eligible for an ESA?
A: Yes, they would be eligible for an ESA regardless of income as long as they are enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited private school.
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