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ERIC Number: ED568158
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Aug
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Education Savings Accounts: Key Provisions and State Variations. Education Trends
Railey, Hunter
Education Commission of the States
In 2011, the Arizona State Legislature adopted a law creating the first education savings account (ESA) in the United States. Following Arizona's lead, several other states, including Florida Tennessee,Mississippi and Nevada, have implemented ESA policies. Typical eligibility requirements include conditions such as a pupil's diagnosed disability, attendance at one of the state's lowest-performing schools, or foster care status. Only parents or guardians who have previously enrolled their child in public K-12 schools may apply. Depending on state policy, parents or guardians can use funds from these accounts for supplemental services, recognized achievement tests, advanced placement exams, college entrance exams, textbooks required by the selected academic program, or access to a complete course of study in a non-public academic program. Some states, such as Arizona, set two levels of accounts--with a higher range of dollars available for students with disabilities who need significantly greater services. This Education Trends report provides an overview of ESAs, reviews the key components of several states' laws and highlights some potential policy considerations for ESA program design. Policymakers are encouraged to think about program design considerations in order to ensure students are protected, accounts are administered properly and standards are maintained. When designing ESA programs, policymakers may want to consider: (1) Specific provisions that accommodate the needs and protect the rights of disabled populations; (2) Funding (at least for the highest need pupils) at a level to cover private school tuition costs to ensure widespread program participation; (3) Regular account audits to protect taxpayers from fraud and abuse and to protect the integrity of the programs; and (4) Mandatory program evaluations tracking student performance, in addition to account use, to ensure academic standards are being met.
Education Commission of the States. ECS Distribution Center, 700 Broadway Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80203-3460. Tel: 303-299-3692; Fax: 303-296-8332; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; Arizona; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Iowa; Mississippi; Nevada; Oklahoma; Tennessee; Virginia