What is the Indiana ESA Program?
The Indiana Education Scholarship Account (ESA) Program is a program of the State of Indiana, administered and overseen by the Treasurer of State. Through the use of dedicated scholarship money, families of eligible students or emancipated eligible students who participate in the Indiana ESA program have the opportunity to choose the educational environment and services that help them best meet their unique learning needs. Scholarship money may be used to purchase approved educational programs, therapies, services, tuition and fees, and other expenses related to the student’s education. The program will launch for the 2022-23 school year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child be enrolled at a public school and use the Education Scholarship Account?
No. Indiana ESA cannot be used if a student is enrolled at a traditional public or public charter school. However, an eligible student with an Education Scholarship Account may use funds to purchase services from a traditional public or public charter school, such as courses, if the school has applied to participate with the program. The Indiana ESA can be used to cover any tuition or fees associated with these courses.
Are current non-public school students eligible?
Yes, current non-public school students can apply to participate in the Indiana ESA program as long as they meet the eligibility and income requirements. The non-public school that will be accepting payments through the Indiana ESA account must apply and be approved as a participating provider.
Will Indiana ESA students who choose to educate at home be considered homeschoolers?
No. While both options provide families with greater control over their student’s education, they are classified differently under Indiana code and subject to different regulations. In Indiana, homeschools are classified as nonpublic, non-accredited, with less than one employee and students are exempt from statewide assessments. Students who are approved for an ESA must take the statewide assessment or an alternative test as outlined in the student’s IEP/ISP, and must meet any program regulations approved by the state. For more information on home education, you may visit the Indiana Association of Home Educators at iahe.net.
Is my child eligible if they are currently receiving an Indiana Choice Scholarship?
Students may not be awarded the Choice Scholarship and the Education Scholarship Account for the same school year. However, if your child is a current recipient of the Choice Scholarship Award, you may apply for the Educational Scholarship Account. If approved, your child will forfeit the Choice Scholarship and be able to use funds through an Indiana ESA account to purchase educational services and fees. You may continue to use these funds for tuition and fees at a qualified school.
How much funding will my student receive under the Indiana ESA program?
Students who participate in the program will receive 90% of their basic tuition support already allotted to the student by the state as well as 100% of special education dollars allotted to their student, if the student chooses not to receive special education services from their local public school. This amount will vary by district and is based on your local public school district.
How will Indiana ESA money be distributed to families?
Scholarship funds will be deposited directly into each student’s Indiana ESA account in quarterly payments. This account will be available to parents via a secure online portal, which they will use to make payments directly to providers from the student’s account. Debit cards are not used and funds are not deposited directly into personal bank accounts.
What can the Indiana ESA funds be used for?
Funds must be used for qualified expenses through pre-approved Indiana ESA providers. See below for a list of qualified expenses and types of providers available to participate.
What if my child's current provider is not an approved Indiana ESA provider?
If a parent would like to use Indiana ESA funds to make payments to a provider that is not currently on the pre-approved list, the provider must first apply and be approved to participate in the program. Any services paid for prior to approval of the participating entity into the program will not be reimbursed.
A student may be eligible for the Indiana ESA program if they can prove permanent and primary residency in the state of Indiana. During the application process, documentation will be required that shows current and primary state residency.
A student may be eligible for the Indiana ESA program if they are at least 5 years of age, and less than 22 years of age by August 1 of the anticipated school year of participation.
A student may be eligible for the Indiana ESA program if they have a disability and require special education. In order for an Indiana ESA application to be approved, the student must have, and submit a complete copy of an individualized education program (IEP), service plan, or choice special education (CSEP) plan for review.
A student may be eligible for the Indiana ESA program if they meet the income requirement of 300% of the federal Free or Reduced School Meals. Below is a chart that provides a quick glance at qualifying income based on household size.
|Household Size*||Program Limit (300% of federal limit)|
*For households with more than eight people, add $26,196 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.
Types of Participating Entities
- Qualified schools
- An individual tutor or tutoring agency
- An individual or entity that provides a service to a student with a disability as part of their individualized education program, service plan, or as prescribed by the eligible student’s treating physician
- An individual or entity that offers a course or program to an eligible student
- A licensed occupational therapist
- Entities that provide assessments
Types of Qualified Expenses
- Tuition and fees at a qualified school, public school, or other participating entity
- Fees for certain student assessments and examinations
- Educational services for an eligible student who is a student with a disability
- Payments associated with the use of paraprofessional or educational aides
- Services contracted for and provided by a school corporation, charter school, magnet school, or qualified school, such as individual classes, extracurricular activities, or additional programs, resources, or staffing as part of the student’s IEP or ISP
- Occupational Therapy
- Fee for service transportation to and from approved provider
- Tuition and fees to attend training programs and camps that have a focus on: vocational skills; academic skills; life skills; independence; or soft job skills
- Additional services and therapies prescribed by the eligible student’s treating physician