Qualified Schools FAQs
- What is a qualified school?
A qualified school refers to a nonpublic school accredited by either the state board or a national or regional accreditation agency that is recognized by the state board:
(1) to which an eligible student is required to pay tuition to attend; and
(2) that agrees to enroll an eligible student
The following 3rd party accreditation organizations are recognized by the State Board of Education:
- Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventists Schools, Colleges, and Universities (AASDAS)
- American Association of Christian Schools (AACS)
- American Montessori Society (AMS)
- Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
- Christian Schools International (CSI)
- Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
- International Christian Accrediting Association (ICAA)
- Lumen Accreditation from the Catholic University of America
- National Lutheran Schools Accreditation (NLSA)
- Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACSWASC)
- Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS)
For a complete and up-to-date list, visit https://www.in.gov/doe/it/school-accreditation/
- Do schools also need to apply to participate in the program?
Yes, similar to the Choice Scholarship program, qualified schools need to apply to be considered a participating provider in the Indiana ESA program. A qualified school is a nonpublic school accredited by either the state board or a national or regional accreditation agency that is recognized by the state board. Qualified schools who enroll participating students and accept fees from student accounts must administer a statewide assessment, unless otherwise prescribed by the participating student’s IEP, service plan or choice special education plan.
- What types of expenses are qualified?
- Tuition and fees at an approved non-public school
- Tuition and fees to attend training programs and camps focusing on vocational, academic, life, independence, or soft job skills
- Services contracted for and provided by an approved charter, magnet, public or non-public 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 school
- Fees for certain student assessments and examinations
- How will we receive tuition payments?
Qualified students who are attending a qualified school will have a dedicated tuition purse through ClassWallet. Tuition will be invoiced quarterly by the qualified school and may be paid prior to educational services rendered.
- Can families use other methods of payment?
If a student has a remaining balance to a provider after all ESA funds have been used, the balance may be paid through another payment method. Families may also choose to pay tuition and fees by other means and use ESA for other qualified expenses. Families are responsible for any leftover balance after ESA funds are used.
- When are disbursements made?
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.
- Is there a required fee structure?
The Indiana Education Scholarship Account Program does not establish a fee structure for any participating entity. Tuition and fees are determined by the qualified school. The tuition and fee policy, as well as discount policy are submitted annually as part of the application and renewal. The parent/guardian of an eligible student will contact the qualified school to obtain the school's tuition and fee policy and discount policy, if applicable.
- What are the benefits of becoming a qualified school?
The Education Scholarship Account Program benefits qualified schools who would like to offer additional financial options to their families. The ESA also opens the opportunity for schools to offer individual classes, courses, programs, tutoring, camps or any other qualified expenses to their community of students who may not be enrolled in the school, and accept ESA funds as payment for these services in arrears.
- To be considered a qualified school, do I have to administer statewide assessments?
Each qualified school that is a participating entity that accepts payments for tuition made from an account under the program shall administer to its eligible students, for the applicable grade levels as provided under IC 20-32-5.1, the statewide assessment unless otherwise prescribed by the eligible student’s:
(1) individualized education program;
(2) service plan developed under 511 IAC 7-34;
(3) choice special education plan developed under 511 IAC 7-49; or
(4) plan developed under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794.
- If I am already participating in the Choice Scholarship Program, do I also need to apply to the Indiana ESA Program? What is the difference between the two programs?
Yes. Any non public schools that may already be participating in the Choice Scholarship Program will need to apply to become a participating entity in the Indiana ESA Program.
The Indiana Choice Scholarship can only be used to cover tuition and fees at non-public, voucher-accepting schools, whereas 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.