*Parent applications are closed and will open again on March 1, 2024 for the 2024-25 school year*
Student Eligibility Checklist
Student must be a resident of the state of Indiana.
Families will need to provide a document with their most current address listed. This could include one of the following:
- Tax Return
- The most recent utility or mortgage bill
- A lease/rental agreement
- Voter registration documents
- Photo ID
Student must be K-12 grade level and are 5 years of age, and less than 22 years of age by October 1 of the anticipated school year of participation. Families will be required to provide a birth certificate to prove the student is between the ages of 5-22 years old.
Student must have a disability and require special education. Student must submit a complete copy of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), Service Plan (SP), or ESA Service Plan (ESA SP).
Student must be a member of a household with an annual income of not more than four hundred percent (400%) of the amount required for the individual to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch. Proof of total household size and income must be accurate and submitted for each household member, including any income from the Eligible Student, regardless of the amount. It is the responsibility of the parents to provide supporting documentation for each household member during application.
Your current 1040 Tax Return is the preferred method to prove income eligibility. If members of the same household filed a separate Federal Tax Return, then each member of the household must submit their current Federal Tax Return. The amount used to determine eligibility is based on total (gross) income before any taxes or deductions. This is typically found on Line 9 on the 1040 tax form.
Other acceptable forms of proof of income are:
- W-2 for each household member
- Unemployment compensation statement for each household member
- 1099 and/or statements from banks or other financial institutions showing interest earnings for each household member
- Earnings from investments, bonds, estates, or trust accounts for each household member
- Social Security statements for each household member
- Pension or annuity statements for each household member
- Military retirement benefits statement for each household member
*For additional household members, add $28,527.
|Program Limit (400% of federal limit)
Student CANNOT be enrolled in a public school and be counted by the public school in their ADM count under IC 20-43-4.
Types of Providers and Qualified Expenses
- Qualified schools
- An individual tutor or tutoring company
- A licensed therapist or therapy company
- 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
- Entities that provide assessments
- 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
- Payments associated for receiving therapeutic services
- 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
- 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
Approved Providers Map
Application & Eligibility FAQs
- 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 (ADM) already allotted to the student by the state as well as 100% of special education dollars (APC) 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. A scholarship award calculator is available at the top of this page. Additionally, you can use the documents below to calculate an estimated scholarship award.
- 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. Parents of ESA students will not be reimbursed for purchases made with personal funds.
- What can the Indiana ESA funds be used for?
Funds must be used for qualified expenses through pre-approved Indiana ESA providers. Please see the Resources Page for a full list of providers and schools available.
- 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 Approved Providers List, the provider must first apply and be approved to participate. We are always looking for new providers to add to our program. Please send us their information via the Provider Contact Form for us to reach out to them.
- Choice Scholarship Program vs. Education Scholarship Account Program?
While Indiana's Choice Scholarship can be used to cover tuition and fees at non-public, voucher-accepting schools, tuition and fees are just one type of qualified expense for an Indiana ESA student. Any remaining funds after the cost of tuition and fees can be used on any pre-approved educational expenses, such as therapies and services.
Furthermore, instead of using the Indiana ESA funds at a non-public school, parents can instead opt to completely customize their child’s education through the use of tutors, therapies, services, and other pre-approved educational expenses, as long as the parent of the eligible student uses part of the money in the account in the following areas of study: reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies or science, or other area as determined in the student’s IEP, service plan or choice special education plan.
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 not be able to use the Choice Scholarship and will 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 do I know what non-public school is the right fit for my child?
The team at Indiana's Education Scholarship Account Program knows that your child's education is important to you. We also know that choosing a new school can be difficult. That's why we've created a list of questions you can ask the leadership team at the non-public school you are interviewing. Click the link below to access the pdf document. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list and you may add or take away any questions that you feel relevant.
Parent Questionnaire - English
Cuestionario para padres - Español
- My child is currently receiving a Medicaid Waiver. Can I still apply for an ESA?
Yes! However, Medicaid waivers and Indiana ESA have some overlap in qualified expenses so you will want to speak with both your ESA Account Specialist and your Medicaid Case Manager in order to ensure that you are using both programs to the fullest extent. Please note that the same expense cannot be billed to both your ESA account and your Medicaid waiver. A flyer with more information regarding both programs can be found below.
- Who do I contact to get an IEP/ISP created for my child?
The public school corporation that you reside in is the party responsible for creating your student's IEP. The public school corporation where your student’s private school is located is the public school responsible for offering a service plan (SP). Please contact the Special Education Director from your school corporation for more information.
The Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE) has made an Indiana Special Education Directory available for download here.
IN*SOURCE can also assist with this process. IN*SOURCE provides high quality information, training, and support to families of children and young adults with disabilities and the individuals and organizations who serve them. Upon contacting IN*SOURCE, a ticket will be created for the family's local SEL (Special Education Liaison) or they will be added to a call sheet to reach out to within 24 hours for general assistance. If the family needs ongoing assistance, they will be connected with their local SEL. Additionally, they created a live chat feature which is answered from 9-6 each day including for families who need a bi-lingual SEL. For assistance in navigating this process, email email@example.com.
- What is the process/timeline for getting an IEP/ISP created?
Timelines for evaluating: The timelines for responding to a parent’s referral for an educational evaluation, conducting the evaluation, and convening the case conference committee (CCC) meeting do not change, and do not become expedited, just because a parent has applied for an ESA. When a parent makes a referral for an educational evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services, it is expected that the public agency reviews existing student records to determine whether it will evaluate, or refuse to evaluate, and provide written notice, consistent with 511 IAC 7-40-4(e), of the proposal or refusal to evaluate within 10 instructional days of receiving parent’s request to evaluate. If the public agency refuses to evaluate, the parent may challenge the refusal by requesting mediation or a due process hearing. If the public agency proposes to evaluate, the parent must provide written consent to licensed personnel to conduct the initial educational evaluation. Once consent is received, the public agency must conduct the educational evaluation and convene the CCC to determine eligibility within 50 instructional days of receipt of the parent’s written consent to evaluate. There is no requirement that evaluations be conducted over the summer, or meet a September 1 deadline. Timelines for conducting educational evaluations are governed by Article 7.
Which public agency should evaluate. When students attend nonpublic schools, parents could ask either the school corporation of legal settlement (SCOLS) or the public school where the nonpublic school is located to conduct the educational evaluation if not the SCOLS. Some factors to consider:
a. If a student’s CCC determines the student is eligible for special education and related services, the SCOLS is required to make an offer of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student. 511 IAC 7-34-3(e). This offer of a FAPE would include the development of an IEP that the SCOLS would implement if the parent chose to enroll the student in the SCOLS.
b. If the parent declines the offer of a FAPE and chooses to continue enrollment in the nonpublic school, then the parent determines who will provide special education services.
c. If the parent wants special education and related services to be provided by a public school, the parent would ask the school corporation where the nonpublic school is located to develop a service plan. This may be the SCOLS, but it might be a different school corporation. A student may have an ESA and still opt to have special education services provided by a public school under a service plan. If a service plan is implemented, the APC funds will not be added to the ESA.
d. If application for an ESA has been made or is being considered, and the parent wants the APC funds added to the ESA so the parent can purchase the special education and related services, then an ESA service plan would be developed. This plan would include the special education and related services included in the IEP developed by the SCOLS, with clarifying language added that the parent is responsible for arranging for, and paying for, any of the special education and related services provided to the student.
f. If the student is a choice scholarship student, and the choice school provides special education services, the parent may choose to have the choice school develop a choice special education plan (CSEP) and provide special education and related services. NOTE: A student cannot have both a choice scholarship and an ESA
- School corporation where nonpublic school is located – not SCOLS.
a. If the CCC determines the student is eligible for special education and related services, the CCC will develop a service plan.
b. If the parent declines the service plan, whether because the student has an ESA and is requesting the APC funds be added to the ESA, has a CSEP, or just declines special education services, the school corporation is not required to develop services plans in the future unless/until the parent requests a service plan.
c. If the student has an ESA and the parent has requested the APC funds be added to the ESA, the parent will need to work with the SCOLS to develop the ESA service plan. The ESA service plan is based upon an IEP, not a service plan. See 1.d., above.
Generally, if a parentally-placed nonpublic school student seeks to establish initial eligibility for an ESA with the intention of the parent using the APC funds to purchase the special education services, it would be recommended that this be done through the SCOLS, as no other public school is responsible to develop an IEP or the ESA service plan.
- What is an SGO?
An SGO is an organization that awards school scholarships to eligible students. Qualified SGOs receive funding for school scholarships from private, charitable donations. Those who have donated to an SGO that has been certified by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) will then be eligible to take advantage of a 50 percent credit against their individual or entity’s state tax liability.
For more information on SGOs, please view the Department of Education's SGO FAQ sheet.
- What is the definition of homeschooling in Indiana?
Indiana classifies homeschooling as nonaccredited, nonpublic schools with less than one employee. Other homeschooling requirements are as follows:
- Children ages 7-18 must be educated for the number of days their local school system is in session. This is typically 180 days. (IC 20-33-2-5; IC 20-33-2-6)
- Parents must begin keeping attendance records the date the child turns 7. The local superintendent and the State Secretary of Education may legally ask to see a parent’s attendance sheet. (IC 20-33-2-8; IC 20-33-2-20) Please note: Indiana law defines a school year as July 1 through June 30 of the following year. (IC 20-18-2-17)
- Parents must provide an equivalent education. Please note: home educators are not required to teach on the same subjects as are listed in the IDOE state standards. (IC 20-33-2-28; IC 20-33-2-12)
- The education must be taught in English. (IC 20-33-2-4)
Please note, Indiana ESA students are NOT considered homeschool students, as participation in ESA requires government oversight, the use of government funds, and completion of state testing requirements.
For more information on home education in Indiana, please visit iahe.net
- What is ClassWallet?
ClassWallet is the financial management platform for the Education Scholarship Account program. Parents will utilize ClassWallet to pay providers for services received. Providers will register their bank account information to receive payment from ESA students.
- How do I access ClassWallet?
- How do I contact ClassWallet?
You can access FAQs, view on-demand videos and chat with a live support member here.
ClassWallet can be reached at 1-877-969-5536 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customer service hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm EST and Saturday from 10am to 4pm EST.
- How do I utilize ClassWallet for payment?
If your child's provider is registered on ClassWallet, you can find them by clicking "Pay Vendor" on the ClassWallet portal homepage. All you need is a PDF, JPEG, or PNG file of the invoice, statement, or other supporting documents.
You can view the step-by-step instructions and watch a short 2-minute video here.
- Are there any additional resources or tutorials?
- Does ClassWallet have to issue a 1099-K to DirectPay vendors?
Yes, they do, provided your organization exceeded the transaction and volume thresholds prescribed by the IRS.
According to the IRS, a Third Party Settlement Organization (TPSO) must file Form 1099-K for payments made in settlement of reportable payment transactions for each calendar year. ClassWallet is a TPSO.
A TPSO is required to report any information concerning third-party network transactions of any participating payee only if for the calendar year:
- The gross amount of total reportable payment transactions exceeds $20,000, and
- The total number of such transactions exceeds 200.
If your company exceeds both thresholds in the calendar year, ClassWallet will send you a 1099-K form by January 31st.
For more information, you can visit the IRS website at About Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
State Testing FAQs
- Is my ESA child required to take the state test(s)?
- What test(s) does my child have to take?
Tests are approved by the Indiana Department of Education and are dependent on grade level & IEP/ISP accommodations. Some of the approved tests include the ILEARN, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, IREAD-3, I AM, and WIDA ACCESS.
- Who can I contact to find out more information about testing?
- Where can my child take state test(s)?
Private, state accredited schools as well as 3rd party ESA-approved testing providers.