Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

  • Education Savings Account (ESA)
  • Enacted 2011
  • Launched 2011

Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program allows parents to opt their children out of public district or charter schools and receive a portion of their public funding deposited into an account for defined, but multiple, uses, including private school tuition, online education, education therapies, private tutoring or future educational expenses. This was the nation’s first ESA program. Learn more about how the program works on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.

As of September 24, 2022, student eligibility is expanded to universal. Arizona has set the standard nationally for student access to private choice

We do not administer this program.

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  • 30,471

    Participating Students (2022–23)

  • 100%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 398

    Participating Schools (2022–23)

  • 3,233

    Approved ClassWallet Vendors (2023)

  • 90%

    Maximum Account Value as a Percentage of State-Level Public School Per-Student Spending 

  • $7,000

    Estimated Average Account Value (2022–23, excluding students with special needs)

  • $11,332

    Average Account Value (2022–23, including students with special needs) 

Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

ESAs are funded at 90 percent of the state’s per-student base funding. In 2020–21, ESAs were worth about $6,400 for students in grades 1–12 who do not have special needs. State estimates projected this amount rising to $7,000 as of 2022–2023. Students with special needs receive additional funding, and those amounts vary depending on the services the student’s disability requires. Because a majority of ESA students have special needs, the average ESA in 2022–23 is more than the statewide per-pupil average base funding amount.

(Last updated January 17, 2023) 

Student Eligibility

Students must meet one of the following characteristics: Is eligible to enroll in a public school in Arizona in (1) a preschool program for children with disabilities, (2) a kindergarten program, or (3) any of grades 1 through 12.

(Last updated January 17, 2023) 

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Arizona’s ESA program is now the most expansive program in the nation. The bar for universal student access to educational opportunity has been set for other states to follow.

All K-12 students are eligible to receive an ESA, along with pre-K students with disabilities. Every Arizona student is eligible to receive an ESA, though Arizona students may not concurrently receive ESA funding and financial assistance via the state’s tuition tax credit programs.  Statewide, recipients participating in one of Arizona’s private educational choice options (including the universal-eligibility Original Individual-Donor Tax-Credit Scholarship Program, the Low-Income Corporate-Donor Tax-Credit Scholarship Program, “Switcher” Tax-Credit Scholarship Program and Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax-Credit Scholarship Program) represent about 7 percent of the state’s enrollment.

ESAs are funded at 90 percent of the state’s per-pupil base funding. State estimates project that typical ESA students will receive about $7,000 annually as of 2022-2023, but students with special needs receive significantly more. Funding amounts vary based on the types of special needs.

Arizona’s ESA program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.

(Last updated January 17, 2023) 

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None 
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: No 
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide 
  • Enrollment Cap: No 
  • Account Cap: 90 percent of base support level  
  • Testing Mandates: None 
  • Available to all K-12 students plus pre-K with disabilities.
  • No double dipping, e.g. may not accept an ESA at the same time as receiving scholarships from other state tuition tax credit programs.

Parent Requirements 

  • Parent must sign an agreement to:
    • Provide an education in the subjects of reading and grammar, mathematics, social studies and science 
    • Not enroll the student in a school district or charter school 
    • Release the school district from all obligations to educate the student 
    • Not accept a scholarship under Arizona’s general tax-credit scholarship programs 
    • Use the money deposited in the ESA for purposes specified in the law and spend accumulated ESA dollars on basic education subject 

(Last updated January 17, 2023) 

Governing Statutes

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 15-2401 through 2404

(Last updated January 17, 2023)