Reimagining Education

How can an ESA help your child?

Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly passed HB349 which will create the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program.

So how can the new ESA program help your child succeed?

Many students across the state are trapped in classrooms that are not meeting their specific needs, whether it be attending school in person, finding an environment that celebrates and supports a child’s special needs, or being stuck in an underfunded and poorly performing school.

The reality is that every child learns differently, and a child’s family knows best what educational environment will give them the best chance of educational success.

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Account Program is specifically design to help these students by giving their families the funding they need to craft a unique educational plan that meets all of their child’s specific needs.

When the new program is fully operational, qualifying students will be able to apply for scholarships of up to $6,300 that can be used for a wide range of educational needs.

What can ESA scholarships be used to pay for?

ESA scholarships can be used for a wide variety of educational expenses including:

  • Tuition at a public charter or district school or at a private school
  • Textbooks required by a school
  • Educational therapies or services
  • Tutoring services
  • Curriculum for homeschooling
  • Tuition for a private virtual school
  • Fees for testing
  • Services provided by a public school 
  • Computer hardware 
  • Fees for summer education programs and specialized after-school education
  • Transportation costs for mileage to and from a qualified school
  • And more!

The great thing about the ESA program is that the family gets to choose how to use the scholarship funds and can pick and choose what their child needs based on their specific needs.

So for example, a family with a student with special needs who are unhappy with the way their school is providing accommodations could use part of an ESA scholarship to pay for tuition to a private school that provides a more inclusive environment and also pay for therapy or tutoring services to help their child catch up to where they should be.

The same family may decide that it is better to homeschool their child and could use the ESA scholarship to pay for a curriculum they can use at home as well as purchasing a computer and textbooks for their child to learn from home.

Families unhappy with the way their school district responded to the pandemic could use ESA scholarships to pay to send their child to a neighboring district that was more responsive to parent needs during the pandemic or even to send their child to a charter school that has a specific educational model.

The possibilities for how families can use ESA funds are as varied as the differing needs of every student in the state.

As a result, families are no longer stuck with the cookie-cutter education provided by their local district and can instead tailor an educational program specifically to the needs of their children.

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