What does Arizona’s Universal ESA Program mean for Homeschoolers?
If you have been looking into homeschooling in Arizona, you may have heard about Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program which aims to help pay for homeschool programs and curricula. In the past, this program has only been available to students with disabilities or other specific conditions, but it has since been expanded for all students, including homeschoolers, in Arizona. This program is designed to help parents who want to homeschool, but how does it work and how can you benefit?
What is Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program?
Arizona’s ESA program allows parents of qualified students access to public funds when purchasing educational services from private schools, education providers, and/or education vendors. According to Arizona’s ESA Parent Handbook, “An ESA is an account administered by ADE (Arizona Department of Education) and funded by state tax dollars to provide options for the education of qualified students in Arizona. ESA funds do not constitute taxable income to the parent of the qualified student.”
Since the program was introduced in 2011, Arizona has spent over $150 million funding its ESA program.
This started as program for children with special needs or unique circumstances such as military families, but it has since been expanded in 2022 under Arizona H.B. 2853 to universally to include all Arizona students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Families using other methods of education will now be able to use 90% of the state aid that would have gone to their local school district had their student remained enrolled.
The amount of funds granted will vary, but most students who are approved will receive approximately $6,500. Parents can then use this to support their child’s educational needs with supplies, courses, tutoring and other academic options. These funds are administered through an online third-party vendor called ClassWallet where parents can make purchases and payments using the provided debit card, submitting a reimbursement, or making a direct payment to registered vendors.
ESA Account Holders are required to use at least a portion of the funds to provide an education in the following subjects: reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science.
Arizona ESA Program – Commonly Asked Questions
How do I apply for ESA?
To apply, visit the official Arizona Education Department website which now includes a “Universal” category for K-12 students with or without a Disability: https://www.azed.gov/esa/eligibility-requirements/
How much money does ESA provide to support my student?
The amount of funding provided will be based on several factors. In general, students in Grades 1-12 receive approximately $6,500 and students in Kindergarten around $4,000. Students who have a current IEP/MET/504 are eligible to receive additional funding based on their IEP/MET category of eligibility.
Can I use ESA funds for Power Homeschool?
Yes! Power Homeschool is linked under “Acellus” which has been “Approved” as an allowable item for ESA: Power Homeschool under “Acellus” for ESA
How do I pay for Power Homeschool using ESA funds?
Tuition payments can be made using a Debit Card connected to your ESA account or by submitting a reimbursement for purchases made with Credit Card or PayPal.
Is there a deadline to apply?
ESA accepts applications online year-round and the amount awarded is divided and distributed quarterly, as shown below:
Q1: July 1 – September 30
Q2: October 1 – December 31
Q3: January 1 – March 31
Q4: April 1 – June 30
Additional ESA Resources:
Disclaimer: The information provided on this web page is for general information purposes only. The information provided does not constitute legal advice and may not contain the most up-to-date information.