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Iowa Department of Education anticipates ESA applications to go live in May

The applications are anticipated to be posted next month, and Iowans will have until June 30 to submit their requests.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Student First Act back in January.

The law allows Iowa families access to roughly $7,600 per student for an education savings account (ESA) to be used toward private school tuition and costs.

The plan will phase in over three years, eventually allowing every family to take part.

One month after Reynolds signed the law, the state announced it had selected New York based Odyssey as the vendor to run its program.

In its investment breakdown, Odyssey reports year one will cost Iowa roughly $582,000 for it to run the program and $629,550 every year after that. For comparison, another company quoted the state a year one price tag of $3.6 million. 

“Iowa’s parents are one step closer to having educational freedom become a reality," Reynolds said. "I am confident Odyssey — a team of former educators and tech developers — will be a good partner in administering the new ESA program. School choice will elevate our entire education system and will empower parents to make the best decision for their children.”

Odyssey also contracts in Arizona and Idaho. The company states it distributed $50 million to Idaho families last year through the Empowering Parents Program with zero cases of reported fraud. 

The Department of Education website states the applications for ESA's will post next month in May, with a due date of June 30. 

In addition, the state has posted a schedule of webinars about the ESAs, and how to register, here.

The application window for the ESA's opens Wednesday at 8am.

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