Why Iowa Should Pass Education Savings Accounts

Published February 6, 2014

The next big goal for Iowa school choice advocates is to pass an education savings account bill currently alive in the legislature. Education savings accounts (ESAs) deposit the average state K-12 spending (about $4,000 in Iowa) into a personal bank account that comes with a debit card. Parents can use the money to pay for tuition, tutoring, textbooks, extracurricular activities, and more. 

“This is gonna be real helpful for parents that want to make a real choice in where to send their child to school,” said Thomas Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference. “It won’t matter how much money the parent makes, it won’t matter what address the parent lives at, but they’ll have a real choice in education for their child.”

Any money left in the account can be rolled over from year to year, and families can ultimately use it to pay college expenses. 

Iowa already has education tax credits and tax-credit scholarships. Arizona was the first state to pass ESAs, in 2011. Oklahoma is also considering this form of school choice.