Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA)
What is the Universal ESA?
- The Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) is a new scholarship program offered through the State of Arizona that allows students to receive funds up to $7,000 to pay for school tuition at a private school.
Who is eligible to receive the Universal ESA?
- Any child whose parents/guardians are Arizona residents. You need only your child’s birth certificate and a proof of residency (ex. Utility bill). This is for students in grades K-12, unless they have a disability, then a different ESA is available.
More information at www.azed.gov/esa/eligibility-requirements.
How much are the ESA scholarships worth?
- Typically, students are awarded between $6,500-7,000. Students with IEPs, METs or 504 Plans may be awarded more.
Is an ESA Scholarship a type of STO?
- No. STOs (School Tuition Organizations) like CEA, IBE, AZ4Ed are different types of scholarships.
Can I combine my ESA award with other tax credit STOs?
- No, if you accept ESA you cannot accept any other STO funds in the same quarter. When you receive your ESA award, you must notify the school to request the return of any STO funds from that quarter.
- If you do not apply for an ESA this year, you can still apply for the next year (2023-24 when applications open in the Spring of 2023).
How is it different for Kindergarteners?
- Kindergarten is different because the state only requires funding for half-day kindergarten. Depending on your home school district, the ESA may only cover about half of the tuition. We recommend applying for both the ESA and STOs, then make a decision that works for your family.
So should we apply for the ESA scholarship?
- We recommend applying to the ESA program for each student to see how much their scholarship award would be. When you receive your ESA offer, it will show you the quarterly amount you would receive. You can then choose to accept or decline.
If I accept an ESA scholarship, do I have to accept an ESA scholarship for all of my children?
- No. You may decide whether it would make sense to use the ESA scholarship for some children and not others. You MAY NOT use STOs and ESA for the same child at the same time.
What do I do after applying for the ESA scholarship?
- The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will send you a contract with a quarterly award amount. You can multiply this amount by 4 to see your annual amount. The contract may take 2-3 weeks to arrive.
- Once you have received your confirmation please inform OLMC by uploading your contract to our ESA Universal form (linked on the OLMC Website under the Parents Tab)
- The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will send you an email with information on how to create your online ClassWallet which you will use to pay for tuition.
How does the ESA process work?
- Each quarter, OLMC will send you a statement (like an invoice) that you will upload to your ClassWallet to pay tuition for that quarter. (As the program is new, the First and Second Quarter Statements will likely go out at the end of November.)
- You can upload your own receipts for approved expenses to ClassWallet for reimbursement. More information about approved expenses here: www.azed.gov/esa/esa-allowable-items
- More information on ClassWallet is available here: www.azed.gov/esa/classwallet
Will ESA Scholarships be available every year?
- If nothing changes, the Universal ESA will be available in the future also. Even if the program is ended or changed, it will still be a great benefit to many families this year.
Where can I find more information?
- OLMC will host an informational webinar on Mon, Nov 21 at 6:00pm. We’ll post the link on the school website the week before.
- Here is the official Universal ESA website: www.azed.gov/esa
If you have any further questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org