(The Center Square) – Iowans can begin applying for educations savings accounts May 31, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office said Thursday.
The accounts allocate state funding for students who meet certain criteria and attend accredited nonpublic schools beginning in the 2023-24 school year.
The State Board of Education adopted administrative rules regarding participation eligibility, program definitions, application parameters and program accountability, the release said. The Iowa Department of Education has posted rules and frequently asked questions. Parents can sign up for notifications regarding information updates.
Parents and guardians who want to enroll a child in a nonpublic school will receive $7,635 for the upcoming school year, the department said. That amount equals the per pupil funding allocated to public school districts for the same budget year for each eligible child. Half of the funds, or $3,817.50, will go toward tuition and approved expenses per semester.
All incoming kindergarteners and all kindergarten through 12th grade students currently enrolled in a public school district are eligible for the program.
Children enrolled full-time in an accredited nonpublic school are eligible based on income for the first two years of the program. For the 2023-24 school year, families are only eligible if they make less than triple the federal poverty level. Income eligibility rises to 400% of the federal poverty level for the 2024-25 school year. In the 2025-26 school year, all kindergarten through 12th grade students will be eligible.
Parents or guardians of students currently at nonpublic schools will verify their income eligibility using net income from their 2022 state tax form, the news release from Reynolds’ office said. The applications for the upcoming school year are due June 30. Webinars to assist parents with the application process will be available May 31.
Reynolds signed the Students First Act in January. The Iowa House of Representatives and the Senate passed the bill 55-45 and 31-18, respectively.
“As we prepare to accept applications later this month for Iowa’s landmark Students First ESA program, the rules approved today will provide families with the details they need to consider their options and prepare to apply,” Reynolds said in the release. “We are one step closer to providing choice in education for Iowa families regardless of income or ZIP code.”