TX – Educational Savings
What are Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs)?
Education Scholarship Accounts, or ESAs, are special accounts managed by families used exclusively for the educational benefit of their child. Through ESAs, parents can access a portion of the funding that the state had allocated for their child and use it to cover the cost of several educational expenses, including tuition at the school of their choice.
Unleashing the extraordinary potential of every child through customization
In many areas of our lives, customization has become the centerpiece of the way we interact with the world. From the way we use our smartphone to our favorite streaming service, customization is at the heart of how we interact with today’s technology. In many cases, the capacity to access content or a service tailored around our specific needs has allowed us to better leverage our creativity and talents. However, when it comes to K-12 education, customization is virtually absent, and families are forced to choose among a very limited number of options that often don’t fit their children’s educational needs. ESAs can change this. Unlike school vouchers, ESA spending can be completely customized, so that each student’s unique needs can be met. Through ESAs, families can direct their child’s funding to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice. Families are also able to save unused funds for future K-12 and higher education expenses.
Allowing students to discover, develop, and apply their talents
By allowing families to plan for their child’s unique needs, ESAs create a personal approach to education, where the ultimate goal is providing all students the opportunity to discover, develop and apply their unique talents to find fulfillment and success in their life. Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee have education savings account.
How do ESAs affect public schools’ resources?
ESAs affect public school funding and resources in the same way they are affected when a student leaves because their family moved to a new district—however, when a student leaves his or her school by using an ESA, the school is usually left with all local and federal per-pupil revenue.
ESAs can expand educational opportunities for students
Through an ESA, families can direct their child’s education funds to the school of their choice, but they can also customize their child’s education by directing the funds to tutoring, online courses, costs associated with college entrance exams, therapies for students with special needs, textbooks, curriculum, college savings, and other authorized uses. Through an ESA program, families can completely customize their child’s education.
Differences between education scholarship accounts and vouchers
While similar in some ways, ESAs differ from vouchers in some key respects: ESA funds flow from the government to a student’s account, held by the government, and used at the families’ discretion for approved education expenses. Voucher funds typically flow directly from the government to the private school for tuition costs. Furthermore, ESA funds may be used for a wide range of education expenditures and may be “rolled over” from year to year. Rolled over funds may be used for certain higher education expenses. Voucher funds are typically limited to payment of tuition at a private school.
Who should be eligible for Education Scholarship Accounts?
Every child deserves access to an education that works best for them. And every family deserves the ability to exercise Educational Freedom. Powerful tools like ESAs should be available to every student, regardless of family income or status.