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Increased involvement in Indiana’s Education Scholarship Accounts ahead of the 2024–2025 academic year



Indiana – The Indiana Treasurer of State said on Monday that more Hoosier families are utilizing Indiana Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), which are designed to assist students in need of special education services. This increase is 200% for the upcoming academic year.

Over half of the $10 million allotted for ESAs in the 2024–2025 academic year, according to the agency, has already been allocated to qualified students. The deadline for program applications is September 1st, which is two months away.

According to the office, there was a more than 200% rise in the number of K–12 children with disabilities who applied for and were awarded ESA monies between the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 school years.
According to the treasurer’s office, provider involvement surged by more than 130% within that same time period, with new members joining “every week.”

In addition, between the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 years, the number of nonpublic schools teaching ESA students climbed by more than 350%.

“These numbers are proof positive that this program is hitting the mark with parents and nonpublic schools, and our provider pool is growing across the state,” said Tina Kaetzel, executive director of the ESA program within the state treasurer’s office. “That provider data point is crucial because providers are significantly instrumental to both parents and nonpublic schools in providing support and services to customize education for our special-needs kids.”

According to Kaetzel, the ESA program is still expanding, with 20% more providers signed up for the 2024–25 academic year than the year before. In addition, there are now 50% more non-public schools involved in the program than there were in the 2023–2024 academic year.

“We’re seeing strong activity, with more applications coming each day — so parents will have their best chance of funding availability if they apply now,” Kaetzel said.

School-age Hoosiers must have an active service plan, an individualized education plan, or a Choice Special Education Plan (CSEP) in order to be eligible for an ESA. Per the Indiana Department of Education, they must also make less than 400% of the Federal Free or Reduced School Meal limit.

Each eligible student can receive thousands of dollars for private school tuition and other educational services from providers outside of their school system through accounts established up by the state treasurer’s office.

Transportation, tests and evaluations, occupational therapy, paraprofessional or teaching assistants, training courses, and more may incur additional costs.

The General Assembly approved the ESA program in 2021 in spite of opposition from proponents of public education who claimed the scheme was unmonitored and diverted funding from conventional public schools.

A leading state Republican senator introduced a bill in the 2024 legislative session to do away with the ESA program and replace it with a new grant program that would provide all Hoosier families, regardless of financial situation, the freedom to select the school for their children.
Although the idea was not carried out, discussions around it hinted at potential legislative momentum in 2025.