The Power of Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs)

Written by: ArgoPrep Team



Time to read 4 min

Empowering families to choose the best educational path for their children.

Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), also known as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, Education Savings Accounts, or simply ESAs, are revolutionary tools that empower families to customize their children’s education. By providing government funding to eligible families, ESAs are breaking down financial barriers and democratizing access to diverse educational resources.

What are Education Scholarship Accounts?

ESAs are financial accounts set up by some U.S. states to support families who opt out of public or charter schools in favor of alternative educational pathways. These accounts are replenished with government funds, which can be used by families for a variety of educational purposes, including:


  • Virtual learning
  • Homeschooling
  • Private schooling
  • Tutoring
  • Community college
  • Higher education
  • Additional educational resources and materials

With over $650 million awarded to families annually, ESAs are making a significant impact, ensuring that financial constraints don’t hinder a child’s educational journey. 

Which States Offer ESAs?

Currently, 16 U.S. states offer ESAs or similar scholarship funds:

Each state has its unique guidelines regarding program eligibility, scholarship amounts, and permissible uses for ESA funds. It’s crucial for residents to familiarize themselves with their state’s specific ESA program details.

Benefits of ESAs

Flexibility: ESAs offer families the flexibility to choose the best educational resources that cater to their child’s unique needs, be it for gifted children seeking advanced challenges or those requiring personalized tutoring and emotional support.


Financial Empowerment: For many families, the cost of alternative schooling options can be prohibitive. ESAs level the playing field, allowing more families to explore homeschooling or other educational pathways without financial strain.


Ease of Use: Most states offer an online platform where parents can easily allocate their scholarship funds towards their desired educational resources.

How to Utilize ESAs

Families can access their ESAs through online platforms like ClassWallet. States provide lists of pre-approved educational resources, making it easy for parents to allocate funds. ArgoPrep is an approved ESA vendor for many states and is a ClassWallet vendor. You can find our award-winning curriculum and supplementary resources (workbooks) on the ClassWallet Marketplace, or other vendor platforms. Don’t see ArgoPrep on your states ESA resources? Contact us at and we’ll assist you.

How do ESAs stand out from other state-supported financial tools such as 529 and Coverdell savings accounts?

ESA Family

While school choice vouchers and tax credits are specifically tailored for tuition and related costs at private institutions, ESAs provide a broader scope, covering a diverse array of expenses not strictly tied to academic pursuits. Advocates argue that ESAs grant parents greater autonomy in shaping their child’s educational journey.

In contrast to tax-free savings options like 529 and Coverdell accounts, which are overseen by states but rely on individual contributions, ESAs are both initiated and financially backed by the state.”

Potential Challenges and Criticisms

While ESAs offer numerous benefits, they aren’t without criticism. Some argue that they divert funds from public schools, potentially weakening the public education system. Others worry about the lack of oversight in some alternative educational pathways, which might not provide the same quality of education as traditional schools. 

ESA Programs Are Expanding Depending On Your State

States such as Florida are expanding the benefits and expense category on what a family can spend on. With ESA programs being expanded and more states considering it, families have:

Diverse Learning Opportunities: Beyond the flexibility and financial empowerment, ESAs open doors to a plethora of learning opportunities. From specialized STEM programs to arts-focused schools, parents can pick what aligns best with their child’s interests and strengths.

Promotion of Innovation: With ESAs, educational institutions are incentivized to innovate and improve their offerings. This competitive landscape can lead to better educational resources and methodologies.

Accountability and Transparency: Since ESAs are government-funded, there’s a built-in mechanism for accountability. Parents can track expenditures, ensuring funds are used appropriately, and states can monitor the effectiveness of various educational pathways. 

1. Are there any restrictions on how ESA funds can be spent?

Yes, funds must be spent on approved educational expenses. These can range from tuition for private schools, tutoring, homeschooling expenses, virtual learning, and more. Each state provides a list of permissible uses.

2. How do I apply for an ESA?

Application processes vary by state. Generally, families need to fill out an application form provided by their state’s education department and provide necessary documentation. We have linked the official websites for each states above in this article.

3. How do I track and report my ESA expenditures?

Most states offer an online platform where parents can allocate and track their scholarship funds. It’s essential to keep receipts and records of all expenditures in case of audits or reviews.

4. Are there any tax implications for using ESA funds?

In most states, ESA funds used for approved educational expenses are tax-free.

5. What happens to unused ESA funds?

Typically, unused funds revert back to the state. Some states might allow funds to be rolled over to the next academic year or be used for post-secondary education.

6. How much funding can a family receive from an ESA?

The funding amount varies by state and is often based on the per-pupil funding that would have been allocated if the student attended a public school. Some states might offer additional funds for students with special needs.