Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA)
The Universal Empowerment Scholarship Award (ESA) is available for all students whose parents reside in Arizona. It will typically cover more than 100% of 1st-8th grade tuition and about 75% of Kindergarten Tuition. We strongly encourage all families to apply.
ESA How to Apply
ESA Cómo Aplicar
What is the ESA Scholarship? (FAQ)
What is the Universal ESA? The Universal Empowerment Scholarship Award (ESA) is a new scholarship program offered through the State of Arizona that allows students to receive funds up to $7,000 to pay for school tuition at a private school.
Who is eligible to receive the Universal ESA? Any K-12 child whose parents/guardians are Arizona residents. You need only your child’s birth certificate and a proof of residency (ex. Utility bill). There are no income requirements.
For students that have a disability, then a different ESA is available. More information here: www.azed.gov/esa/eligibility-requirements
How much are the ESA scholarships worth? Typically, students are awarded between $6,500-7,000. Students with IEPs, METs or 504 Plans may be awarded more.
Is an ESA Scholarship a type of STO? No. STOs (School Tuition Organizations) like CEA, IBE, AZ4Ed are different types of scholarships.
Can I combine my ESA award with other tax credit STOs? No, if you accept ESA you cannot accept any other STO funds in the same quarter. When you receive your ESA award, you must notify the school to request the return of any STO funds from that quarter. If you do not apply for an ESA this year, you can still apply for the next year (2023-24 when applications open in the Spring of 2023).
How is it different for Kindergarteners? Kindergarten is different because the state only requires funding for half-day kindergarten. Depending on your home school district, the ESA may only cover about half of the tuition. We recommend applying for both the ESA and STOs, then make a decision that works for your family.
So should we apply for the ESA scholarship? We recommend applying to the ESA program for each student to see how much their scholarship award would be. When you receive your ESA offer, it will show you the quarterly amount you would receive. You can then choose to accept or decline. This is a 10 minute process. You only need the child’s birth certificate and proof of residency.
When should I apply? You can apply now for the rest of this academic year. Once you’ve accepted an ESA scholarship, you will not need to reapply. You will be sent a renewal email offer in May or June. - For first time ESA applicants that are applying for the next academic year, the application opens in April.
If I accept an ESA scholarship, do I have to accept an ESA scholarship for all of my children? No. You may decide whether it would make sense to use the ESA scholarship for some children and not others. You MAY NOT use STOs and ESA for the same child at the same time.
How does the ESA process work? Each quarter, you can pay the tuition and get reimbursed by ClassWallet or upload an invoice and have ClassWallet pay the tuition directly. If you have extra ESA funds, you can use them for other approved academic expenses.
For all ESA: You will be responsible to ensure that there are sufficient funds in your ClassWallet account to pay for all 4 quarters of tuition.
More information about approved expenses here: www.azed.gov/esa/esa-allowable-items
More information on ClassWallet is available here: www.azed.gov/esa/classwallet
Will ESA Scholarships be available every year? If nothing changes, the Universal ESA will be available in the future also.
When should I apply for the ESA for the next academic year (2024-2025)? The ESA application will open in April for the following year.
To use ESA funds for OLMC tuition, you must have applied for, been approved, and signed your Final ESA Contract for this academic year. With ESA, you have 2 options. For either option, you must wait until your quarter is funded. (ESA ClassWallet accounts are funded quarterly, usually in July, October, January, and April You will receive an email from “ADE Notifications”.)
Option 1: You can make the payment and get reimbursed 100% through ClassWallet.
Pros: There is no service fee, so you stretch your ESA funds a little further.
Cons: You must pay the school personally from your bank account and may not be reimbursed for 1-3 weeks.
Option 2: You can upload your Invoice to ClassWallet and ClassWallet will pay OLMC the tuition directly.
Pros: ClassWallet pays the school directly so you never have to pay for tuition out-of-pocket.
Cons: ClassWallet charges an additional 2.5641% fee that will come from your ESA ClassWallet account.
You will receive an Invoice from FACTS to pay your quarterly tuition. Once you’ve made the payment, you can download your FACTS Transactions Receipt showing the amount paid (Here’s a quick “how to”) and then upload it for each of your children’s ClassWallet account. ClassWallet will reimburse you the full amount, but this could take several weeks. Do not upload your Receipt until you’ve received an email from the Arizona Dept. of Education that your ESA has been funded, this will happen quarterly. You must make your payments and upload your Statements to ClassWallet by the dates listed in the table below (make sure you’ve signed your ESA Contract first!).
ClassWallet does NOT charge the 2.5641% fee for this option, so you will be able to stretch your ESA funds a little further with this option, but you will have to personally pay the quarterly tuition to the school first.
|Quarter||Deadline for Payment to
|Recommended Deadline for
uploading statement to
|1||Aug 25, 2023||Sep 1|
|2||Nov 25, 2023||Dec 1|
|3||Feb 25, 2024||Mar 1|
|4||Apr 25, 2024||May 1|
You will receive an Invoice from FACTS that you must upload to Class Wallet to pay your tuition. Here is a quick “How to” upload your Tuition Invoice for each student to their ClassWallet account. ClassWallet will then pay the school directly.
ClassWallet DOES charge a 2.5641% fee (see below) for this option from your ESA account, but you will not have to personally pay from your own bank account. You must upload your Tuition Invoice to ClassWallet by the dates listed below (make sure you’ve signed your ESA Contract first!).
|Quarter||Deadline for Payment to
|1||Aug 18, 2023|
|2||Nov 18, 2023|
|3||Feb 18, 2024|
|4||Apr 18, 2024|
When you input the amount to pay for each quarter, you must include the 2.5641% fee. We’ve calculated that amount for you. Below are the amounts you need to input into ClassWallet to pay your quarterly tuition.
|ClassWallet Fee||What you need to
|100% of your available funds|
Grades 1-6 screenshot below.
Grades 7-8 screenshot below.
First, always make sure you have enough ESA funds to cover all 4 quarters of OLMC tuition. You will be responsible for the total amount.
You can use surplus funds for a variety of approved purchases and activities. Here is ESA’s approved items list. Approved uses include:
Academic and athletic clubs through the school
- Sports registration fees
- Guitar club
Here is a quick “How to” for getting reimbursed for OLMC’s sports and clubs.
You can also use ESA funds to get reimbursed for uniforms purchased through Dennis Uniform. You must include this letter with your receipt for reimbursement.