What is an ESA? An Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) is an account administered by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and funded by state tax dollars to provide education options for qualified Arizona students.
An ESA consists of 90% of the state funding that would have otherwise been allocated to the school district or charter school for the qualified student (does not include federal or local funding). By accepting an ESA, the student's parent or guardian is signing a contract agreeing to provide an education that includes at least the following subjects: reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science. ESA funding can be used to pay private school tuition, for curriculum, home education, tutoring and more.
Can my student participate in the ESA Program and remain his/her public or charter school? In almost all situations, students on ESA cannot be enrolled in a public school (this includes district, charter and public online programs). This is a violation of the ESA contract. Additionally, the student must be withdrawn from the public school at the time that the ESA contract is signed. If the state is paying for an ESA student's education at the same time as the student is receiving ESA funds, the state is distributing the student's education funding twice. You may be able to pay for certain public school programs utilizing your student's ESA funds, please contact us for more details.
How can I contact ESA staff? Call our ESA Support Line at 602-364-1969 (Monday - Friday from 9am - 4pm) or reach us anytime via e-mail through the Help Desksystem.HelpDesk tickets are assigned to individual ESA team members daily.
Are there application deadlines? ESA accepts applications year-round and the yearly scholarship amount is divided into four, quarterly disbursements.
Q1: July 1 - September 30
Q2: October 1 - December 31
Q3: January 1 - March 31
Q4: April 1 - June 30
The funding received is based on the quarter that the contract is signed. For example, if you sign a contract at any point from July 1 - September 30, you'll receive Q1 funding. If you sign the contract from October 1 - December 31, you'll receive Q2 funding, etc.
What's the status of my application? Applications can take up to 30 days to process (from the date a completed application is submitted) and the final determination is sent via email. During this process, we are unable to provide any indications if an application is going to be approved or denied. The best course of action while waiting is to regularly check your email for ESA correspondence. Be sure to check your spam/junk folder as well!
Why was my application denied? When an application is denied, a denial letter is issued by email. This letter will state the reason for the denial.
Do you have more than one student in the ESA Program? You can switch between student accounts when you are in the ClassWallet portal by using the drop down menu on the top right hand side of the page. Step-by-step instructions available here.
What if I have financial support through the private school? Make sure to verify that you are not receiving a scholarship from an STO (School Tuition Organization). By law, students cannot receive a tuition tax credit scholarship from an STO while also receiving ESA funding. This is a contract violation and can result in termination. If you are receiving any kind of assistance, we encourage checking with ESA first to verify that this would not result in account termination.
Am I required to share my student's ESA Contract with our private school? An ESA contract is an agreement between the applicant and the Arizona Department of Education, Empowerment Scholarship Account Program. What applicants choose to share with their private school or vendors is at their discretion. Additionally, ESA cannot provide any advice or guidance to families regarding private schools, programs or service providers.
ESA funds are distributed quarterly and funding begins the quarter that the ESA contract is signed. For example, an ESA contract that is signed at any point in Q1, will receive Q1 funding, a contract signed in Q2, will receive Q2 funding, etc.
Q1: July 1 - September 30
Q2: October 1 - December 31
Q3: January 1 - March 31
Q4: April 1 - June 30
IMPORTANT NOTE ON NEW ACCOUNTS: It does take approximately 3 weeks to set up and fund a new ESA account. See the ESA Parent Guide for more information.
Existing ESA accounts that are in good standing will have quarterly funds requested by the Department between the 15th and the 30th of the month each quarter. Keep in mind that it does take 5-7 business days after request for funds to be reflected in the account, therefore actual deposit dates can vary.
What happens to funds that aren't spent? While a portion of funding must be spent each year, any remaining funds remain in the account and roll over to the next year. Beginning in January 2021, if a parent chooses not to renew their student's ESA at the end of the school year, the student's ESA funds will be held for 3 years.
I can't log in. Have you registered your account with ESA? Applying for ESA and registering are two different processes. Even if you aren't sure, or think you have, you can double check by clicking this link. The easiest way to check this is by entering your ESA Application number. This number can be found on the last page of the contract and on most correspondence from ESA staff. It is also on the e-mail confirmation received following application submission.
I am registered and I still can't log in. I click "forgot password" and nothing happens. The user ID is the e-mail address ESA has on file. If you changed this with ESA at any time, you must re-register. ESA does not have access to your password and cannot reset your password for you. If you are locked out of your account, please wait 15 minutes and try again.
I can log in, but now I don't know where to go. ADE Connect is a web portal utilized by the Arizona Department of Education. You log into ADE Connect in order to access the ESA Portal. From there you can click "Go to ClassWallet" to enter the ClassWallet system.
I can log in, but I am getting a "server error". Is the website down? This can be fixed by clearing out the website cookies or "browsing privately". For example, with Google Chrome, if you right click on the browser icon and select "New Incognito Window", this should help.
I have tried everything and I still can't access the ESA Applicant Portal. Please call ESA at 602-364-1969 or reach out to us using HelpDesk. Please provide as much detail as possible (screenshots of any error messages) so that we can best assist you.
Detailed invoices are required for expenses such as tuition, tutoring and educational therapies. Square, PayPal, or Point of Sale receipts alone are not sufficient. Page 8 of the ESA Parent Handbookgives guidance on invoices.
I can't upload my documents. Make sure the file specifications are correct.
File name cannot have any special characters. Only letters a-z, numbers 0-9, and a hyphen.
I spent my own money before starting ESA. Can I be reimbursed? Yes, however, we cannotreimburse expenses that are made prior to the date the contract was signed.
There are fraudulent charges on my account. What do I do? If you suspect there have been fraudulent transactions made with the ESA prepaid card, first call ClassWallet to report these charges. Then, call the ESA Support Line so the account can be noted.
There is an accidental charge on my account. What do I do? If the card was used accidentally, you should try to see if the vendor or merchant can issue a refund. If that is not possible, funds can be repaid by personal check, cashier's check, or money order made out to the Arizona Department of Education. This can be delivered in person at the Arizona Department of Education building where the ESA office is located, or sent by postal mail. Certified mail (is not required) but does provide receipt that it was sent and received.
I didn't use any ESA funds this quarter. Do I need to do something? If no funds are spent, you are required to attest that there were no funds used. This can be done by logging into your account and entering the ClassWallet portal. You will see a spot on the home page that instructs you to "click here" if there have been no expenses.
How do I know if what I want to purchase is allowed or disallowed? The Parent Handbook is an excellent resource to review prior to using the ESA card. If you have additional questions, you are welcome to call our ESA Support Line at 602-364-1969. There is also a list on our website atESA Allowable Items. If you have specific expense questions, please reach out through Help Desk.
How can I find out if an item/service is considered an allowed or disallowed expense with ESA funds? For specific item requests, please reach out through theHelp Desk and provide the following information:
Your name and/or student name
Be as descriptive as possible
You must provide a link to the item or service
If you are asking if a credential is sufficient for a service, please provide a copy of the credential or a description of the type of credential
I have multiple students on the ESA program. Can I use funds given to one student to pay for another student's expenses? Each student's ESA account and the funds in that account are specific to that student. Using ESA funds for other students (on, or not on the program) is a violation of the Empowerment Scholarship Account contract and can result in account termination.
I received a Disallowed Expense Letter. Now what? This means that the specific expense listed has been disallowed and that the funds must be repaid. This is either following a rejected expense report or if the expense is disallowed by Arizona State Statute and Parent Handbook. Once disallowed spending is found, the account is suspended until there is a resolution or funds are repaid.
How do I repay funds? You don't have to wait to receive a disallowed letter in order to repay funds. At any time, we accept repayment in form of a personal check, cashier's check, or money order only, made out to the Arizona Department of Education. This can be handed in-person at the Arizona Department of Education building where the ESA office is located, or sent by postal mail. Certified mail (is not required) but does provide receipt that it was sent and received.
I would like to re-enroll my student in public school and close the ESA account. A student cannot be enrolled in public school and participate in the ESA program. To close your student's account, log into the ESA portal and click the "Close account for this student" button next to the student name and follow the instructions. Please Note: An account that has been closed, cannot be reopened. To return to the program, you will need to reapply. Step-by-step closure instructions are available at Closing your student's ESA
I would like to close my account. To close your student's account, log into the ESA portal and click the "Close account for this student" button next to the student name and follow the instructions. NOTE: An account that has been closed, cannot be reopened. To return to the program, you will need to reapply. Step-by-step closure instructions are available at Closing your student's ESA
My account was terminated. What can I do? Following account termination, the parent has 30 days to: resolve the reason for the termination (provide documents, provide repayment, etc.) or appeal. Following the 30 days, if no action has been taken, the account will be closed.
My account was turned over to collections. What do I do? Once an ESA account is handed over to the Attorney General's Office, any resolution must be worked out with the Attorney General's Office.
My student is turning 18, or is in 12th grade this school year and is NOT ready to graduate. Does anything change? Pursuant to A.R.S.§15-2402(4)(n), a student with a disability may be entitled to an education until the age of 22 if the student is not ready to graduate high school or obtain their GED. When a student is identified as being a student with a disability with ESA, and in the spring of their 12th grade cohort year, ESA will notify the parent via email. Parents will be instructed to log into the ESA Applicant Portal, click on the eligible student, and make the appropriate selection. Please see additional information in the ESA Parent Handbook.
My student is ready to graduate. Does anything change? Once an ESA recipient graduates, they become "Exited". This means that they no longer receive additional disbursements but can continue to have access to the remaining funds. If the Account Holder would like access to the remaining funds, this requires signing an "Exited Contract". They will then have access to these funds for one year (the contract is renewed on an annual basis). Funds can be used toward additional allowable expenses, including Post Secondary Expenses (in state community college/university)
I'm a parent (ESA account holder), how do I report ESA on my taxes? Pursuant to state statute (A.R.S. § 15-2402), ESA funds received pursuant to this article do not constitute taxable income to the parent of the qualified student.
I'm a vendor or provider, how do I report ESA on my taxes? ESA is unable to advise on tax matters. Please seek advice from your personal Financial Advisor.