The Indiana Education Scholarship Account (ESA) Program will provide students with disabilities throughout the state of Indiana access to the educational environment that best meets their learning needs. Parents of eligible students, or emancipated eligible students, will have the opportunity to spend dedicated scholarship money on approved educational programs, therapies, services, tuition and fees, and other expenses related to the student’s education.
As stated in IC 20-51.4-2-4, a student may be eligible to participate in the ESA Program if they meet the following requirements:
- Legal residency in Indiana;
- Between the ages of 5 and 22 by August 1st of the upcoming school year of participation;
- Have an active Individualized Education Program (IEP), service plan (SP), or Choice Special Education Plan (CSEP); and
- Do not exceed the income requirement of 300% of the Federal Free or Reduced School Meals limit.
To be eligible for payment from an ESA Program account, expenses must be provided by an approved participating entity and for educational expenses aligned with the eligible student's IEP/SP/CSEP. As per IC 20-51.4-5-2, qualified expenses include:
- Tuition and fees at a qualified school, public school, or other participating entity.
- Fee for service transportation, up to $750 annually.
- Fees for eligible examinations and statewide assessments.
- Services provided by a school, including individual courses, extracurricular programs, or additional resources.
- Occupational therapy provided in accordance with the eligible student's IEP/SP/CSEP.
- Educational services for an eligible student.
- Payments for the use of paraprofessional or educational aides.
- Tuition and fees for training programs with a focus on vocational, academic, or life skills; independence; or soft job skills.
- Additional services prescribed by the eligible student's treating physician to improve outcomes for the student.
A qualified school refers to a non-public school accredited by either the state board or a national or regional accreditation agency that is recognized by the state board and to which an eligible student is required to pay tuition to attend and that agrees to enroll an eligible student, as per IC 20-51.4-2-10.
A qualified school is one type of participating entity.
A participating entity is an educational provider who has applied, and been approved, for participation in the ESA Program, and can be paid with ESA funds. According to S/B IC 20-51.4-5-2, the following entities are eligible to become a participating entity:
- Qualified school.
- Individual or tutoring agency providing private tutoring.
- Individual or entity that provides services to a student with a disability in accordance with the student's IEP or SP.
- Individual or entity who offers a course or program to an eligible student.
- Licensed occupational therapist.
- Entities who provide assessments.
Payments for the ESA Program will be made in quarterly disbursements into the ESA Program account. Payment for tuition & fees and special education funding will be prioritized for payment and paid directly to participating qualified schools when applicable. Any remaining funds will be deposited into the ESA Program account and may be used to pay for eligible expenses from participating entities.
Payments must be made directly from the ESA account; there is no reimbursement for expenses. If the cost of services exceeds the amount of funds in the ESA account, account holders will be responsible for any remaining or additional costs. Likewise, if a service or provider is deemed ineligible for payment, the account holder will be responsible for payment.
Disbursement schedule set by Treasurer of State:
Quarter 1: July
Quarter 2: October
Quarter 3: January
Quarter 4: April
- ESA Program Resources
Eligibility & Award
- Legislation for the ESA Program can be found in Indiana Code 20-51.4.
- Preparing for an ESA Program Account
ESA Program Account Estimate
The amount of funding for an ESA Program account depends on several factors, including the student’s corporation of legal settlement, whether the student will receive special education services from a qualified school, and the level of special education funding the eligible child receives. To estimate the amount of funding for which a student may be eligible, use this scholarship estimator tool or follow the steps below:
- Determine the corporation of legal settlement, based on the student’s address of permanent residence. If the corporation of legal settlement is unknown, we recommend using Wayeo or contacting the school directly to determine if the address is within the school corporation boundaries.
- Once the school corporation of legal settlement has been identified, use the 90% Award Amounts document to identify the ESA amount corresponding to the school corporation of legal settlement. This amount is the percentage of basic tuition support eligible for the ESA Program account.
- Determine the classification of the eligible student’s disability to obtain the amount of additional special education funding that may be added to the ESA funding.
- Once the classification has been determined, use the APC Award Amounts document to determine the additional level of funding that may be eligible for inclusion in the ESA Program account.
- If the eligible student plans to receive special education services from a public school or qualified school, the additional special education funding will be earmarked for direct payment to the school. However, if the eligible student plans to receive special education services from an eligible participating entity chosen and coordinated by the parent or guardian, this amount of APC funding may be added to the estimated base award amount.
- This is the anticipated, estimated amount of funding that may be available to the eligible student through the ESA Program.
- If the eligible student plans to attend a qualified school, tuition and fees will be prioritized for payment and earmarked for disbursement to the qualified school.