Iowa’s new school program has almost 19,000 students participating in its first year, the state’s Department of Education announced Thursday.
Of approximately 25,000 applicants, 18,893 students were approved to receive state funds in education saving accounts, which can be used to pay private school tuition. Each family may receive up to $7,635 per student, according to the press release.
The Iowa Department of Education says once a student is accepted into an accredited private school of their choice, the money is sent from the account to the school, according to KCCI.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who made school choice a legislative priority early this year, celebrated the response of families when applications came pouring in.
“The tremendous response from Iowa families demonstrates there’s both a need and a strong desire for school choice in our state,” said Governor Reynolds in a press release. “Allowing parents to choose the education that’s best for their children levels the playing field and creates equal opportunities for Iowa’s students.”
Unsurprisingly, counties with the largest populations had the highest number of student approvals, with Polk County having the most at 3,179.
Some applicants were reportedly denied for not meeting residency or household income requirement, which is currently $90,000 or less for a family of four. The income cap will increase next year to $120,000 or less for a family of four. During the 2025-26 school year, all Iowa K-12 students will be eligible for the ESA program regardless of family income.