Education Savings Accounts Proposal
The Iowa School Choice coalition is now proposing the creation of an Education Savings Account (ESA) in Iowa. Under this proposal:
- EVERY Iowa student is eligible to receive a grant equal to a portion of the state per-pupil funding.
- Students use that grant for educational expenses such as private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring, and online learning.
- ALL students would be eligible regardless of their income level.
- Any funds not used by graduation could be used for tuition at an Iowa college or university.
This program would allow true, universal school choice and inject the positive force of market competition into the Iowa educational arena.
Educational Opportunities Act
The Educational Opportunities Act created the School Tuition Organization (STO) Tax Credit Program in 2006. Here are the highlights:
- Low to lower-middle income families may receive a tuition grant from a School Tuition Organization (STO) to attend the accredited, nonpublic school of their choice
- Donors to the program receive a 65% state income tax credit, and can also claim their donation as a charitable contribution on their Federal income tax.
- The STO Program has distributed over $66 million to students, allowing them to afford the school of their choice.
- Over 10,000 students receive grants every year.
- To apply for a grant please go to Embracing Our Future and the Mississippi Valley School Tuition Organization financial aid programs.
Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit
Enacted in 1987, this state income tax credit gives parents of both private and public schools a tax credit to help with educational expenses:
- Tax credit is equal to 25% of the first $1,000 paid for each child in grades K-12 for tuition and textbooks
- Definition of “textbooks” includes expenses for materials used in extra-curriculars such as drama, sports, driver’s education, and similar programs.
- Parents claim this credit on their Iowa tax return
- This program helps parents offset some of the expense of choosing private education, as well as all the extras of public education.