Alabama is the latest state to consider Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs.
State-funded accounts, used in other states in the country, cover some of the costs of homeschooling or private schooling, if the student does not attend their local public school.
Private schools will need to register with the state in order to accept funds to pay tuition.
Sponsored by Sen. Larry Stotts, R-Tuscumbia, and Rep. Ernie Yarbrough, R-Trinity SB202 And HB265, respectively. Bills are considered in the state legislature. If passed, a phased rollout of ESA access will begin for the 2024-25 school year.
What is the European Space Agency?
Social Security accounts are accounts established by the state where periodic deposits are made that parents can use to pay for goods and services related to their children’s education.
How Much Money Will Parents Get in ESA for Their Children?
Under the current bill, each student will receive $6,900, to be paid in multiple installments during the school year.
The average amount of ESA nationwide is $9,300, According to the American Federation of Children, which supports ESAs.
The amount of ESA in Alabama is roughly related to the current amount of state funding public schools receive per student.
Is ESA money taxable?
No, ESA funds will not be taxed in Alabama.
What happens to any money we don’t spend at the end of the school year?
Any unused funds are carried over to the next academic year. Any money left in the ESA when the child finishes high school can be used for post-secondary expenses.
What if my child returns to public school in the middle of the school year where we have already received ESA?
If the student attends a public school, no additional ESA funding is available to the parent.
Can an ESA be used to attend a private school?
Yes, as long as the school participates in the PRICE programme.
Can parents use the ESA at a private religious school?
ESA can be used at any participating school.
Can my child transfer between participating schools during the school year?
A child may only transfer between participating schools between terms unless the participating school significantly changes operations or the family moves to another part of the state.
Can home parents use ESA to teach their children?
Yes, ESA services can be used to pay for various types of educational materials, treatments, and service providers used by homeschooled children.
Can my child use the ESA at any school in Alabama? How do I ask my private school to participate?
Schools and education providers who wish to participate will have to register online to receive funds from the ESA.
Participating schools will also have to provide information to parents to help them make “informed decisions”, including a comprehensive list of what is taught at what grade level and test requirements.
When can students be eligible for an ESA? How many qualify?
ESA services will be available to all children who enter one of the following grades at the beginning of the 2024-25 school year. The numbers provided are The number of students enrolled in public schools as of the 2021-22 academic year:
- Kindergarten (57,200 students).
- Third grade (53,500 students),
- Sixth grade (55,400 students),
- ninth grade (59,600 students),
- Grade 12 (49,000 students),
And the students are:
- Intended for schools where test scores in reading and math are in the bottom 30% statewide (about 400 of the state’s 1,300 schools),
- Eligible for special education (about 96,000 students),
- homeless (7800 students)
- in the nursery (2800 students),
- Have parents who are in active military service, serve as a reservist in any branch of the US Armed Forces (14,600 cadets), or were killed in the line of duty (unknown number of cadets),
- Are siblings of any eligible child in another category (unknown number of students).
All K-12 students will be eligible for ESA by the beginning of the 2026-27 school year.
Classification by degree for It is estimated that about 82,000 students are currently enrolled in private schools Unavailable.
How do I get an ESA for my eligible child?
Parents must apply and applications will be accepted throughout the year, on a first come, first served basis. Parents must agree to “provide a qualified recipient with a challenging education appropriate to their age and skill level.”
Parents must renew applications on an annual basis. ESA funds are not taxable.
Will the government dictate what my child learns if I get an ESA for my child?
The bill specifically states that parents and schools participating in PRICE will not be required to use or test any specific curriculum.
What can I use ESA to pay for?
If the bill becomes law, the funds in the ESA can be used for many educational purposes, including:
- tuition, textbooks and fees,
- methodological material,
- Public school classes, including extracurricular activities in school,
- Extracurricular activities including athletics, art, music and literature,
- tutoring services, but not when the tutor is an immediate family member,
- materials and fees related to career and career technology classes or courses related to obtaining a GED,
- summer school and after school educational programs and materials, but not childcare,
- therapy services such as occupational, behavioral, and speech and language services,
- Tuition and fees for post-secondary courses including dual enrollment and college-level courses,
- computers and other technological devices used mainly for educational needs,
- education programs,
- school uniform,
- test preparation courses,
- Costs paid to a third party to transport students to and from educational services
- Any other approved expenses.
Can my child get an ESA if they receive a scholarship through the Alabama Accounting Law Tax Credit Grant Program?
Yes, students who receive scholarships through the Alabama Accountability Act are eligible for ESA funds.
Is ESA available in other countries?
ESA programs have been established in 11 states, some of which are limited to certain groups of students such as students with disabilities, By education week.
About 31,000 students used ESAs nationwide last year, According to the pro-school organization EdChoice. More than half of those are in Florida.
All students are eligible for ESA in Arizona.
Four other states, including Iowa, Utah, Arkansas and Florida, have passed similar laws, but the programs are not yet active.
What state agency will administer the ESA program?
The Alabama Department of Revenue will administer the PRICE program.
The department will be required to conduct “random audits of the ESA on an annual basis,” but a specific number of audits is not included in the bill. The department will also be required to conduct audits of vendors and education service providers when there is “evidence of intentional and significant misuse of ESA funds or other violations.”
How much will an ESA cost taxpayers?
The program cost $2 million to create, but there is no estimate of the total cost included in the bill. No local taxes or federal funding will be provided for ESA.
What School Choice Does Alabama Really Have?
In addition to enrolling a child in the child-designated school, Alabama has the following types of school choice:
- Magnet Schools (most have exams or admission requirements),
- charter public schools,
- private schools (religious or non-religious),
- Homeschool without cover
Some public school districts allow students who live outside the district to attend their schools, although some charge a fee and can revoke admission if a child’s behavior is unacceptable.