Iowa

Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit

  • Individual Tax Credit/Deduction
  • Enacted 1987
  • Launched 1987

Iowa provides parents of students in any private or public school a tax credit covering educational expenses, including tuition, books and lab or activity fees. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.

We do not administer this program.

  • 113,938

    Participating Taxpayers (2018)

  • 100%

    of Taxpaying Families with Children Eligible Statewide

  • $133

    Average Tax Credit Amount (2018)

  • 1%

    Amount as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Iowa’s Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit Participation

Tax Returns Claiming Credit
Tax Year

Student Funding

Parents receive a tax credit worth 25 percent of their expenditures up to a maximum credit of $250 per dependent  K–12 student. To get the maximum $250 per-dependent credit, parents must spend $1,000 in educational expenses for tuition and textbooks. They also must have a state tax liability of at least $250 because the credit is nonrefundable and, thus, cannot reduce an individual’s tax burden to less than zero. Expenses for homeschooling, tutoring, or other services outside an accredited Iowa school do not qualify for the credit.

Student Eligibility

All households with students enrolled in accredited nonprofit public or private elementary or secondary schools in Iowa are eligible.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Iowa’s individual tax credit provides universal eligibility, a positive attribute in any school choice program. However, the $250 credit is very small compared to the costs of private school tuition and covers a maximum of only 25 percent of expenditures. To increase the opportunities for choice, the Iowa program could mirror the Alabama tax credit program by increasing the size and value of the credit and making the credit refundable for low-income families. That would increase the funding power of the program and more closely align student funding with the per-pupil spending in Iowa’s public schools.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Credit Value: 25% (on up to $1,000 in qualifying expenditures)
  • Taxpayer Credit Cap: $250
  • Testing Mandates: None

Parent Requirements:

  • Must spend at least $1,000 in educational expenses, including tuition and textbooks, for each dependent attending an accredited or approved nonprofit elementary or secondary school
  • Must have a state tax liability of at least $250

Governing Statutes

Iowa Code § 422.12

Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit State Groups

That Support School Choice

Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education (Iowa ACE) is the voice for school choice in the state of Iowa. They are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to expanding school choice options in Iowa for the benefit of Iowa’s children.