By Roz Weis,
The Iowa Department of Education recently announced 18,627 Students First Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) have been approved as of Aug 4. Winneshiek County totals indicate 168 approved applications to date.
Less than 1,000 applications remain in review in the state, while parents or guardians provide additional information or documentation to confirm eligibility.
In addition to applying and being approved for an ESA, families must separately apply to the accredited private school of their choice and, if accepted, their ESA account will be funded.
Students have been approved for ESAs in 96 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Iowa’s most populous counties primarily account for the highest number of approved student applications. Also as of Aug. 4, the top 10 counties include: Polk, with 3,144 applications; Linn, 1,318; Scott, 1,306; Sioux, 1,183; Black Hawk, 942; Woodbury, 916; Dubuque, 882; Johnson, 572; Dallas, 505; and Carroll, 427.
Nearby Allamakee County had 113 approved applications and Howard County’s total was 87 applicants. Other area county total applications include: Clayton, 25; Chickasaw, 46; and Fayette, 37.
Parents and guardians of students who have been approved for an ESA and accepted at an accredited nonpublic school will receive an invoice from their child’s school through their ESA account. When parents or guardians approve the payment, funds are transferred from the ESA account to the school to pay tuition and fees. ESA funds remain in the state’s possession until approved for payment to the school.
If an approved ESA student does not attend an accredited nonpublic school by Sept. 30, the ESA account will be closed for the school year. The funds remain with the state and are returned to the general fund.
Additional information regarding the final number of approved applicants will be available after Sept. 30. Details about ESA program participants will be available when certified school enrollment numbers are finalized later this fall.