Indiana’s Ed Scholarship Accounts See Boosted Participation Ahead Of 2024-25 Term

More than 50% of the $10 million appropriated for ESA during the 2024-25 academic year has already been committed to eligible students.

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for Maybach Media Newsletter

The number of Hoosier families using an Indiana Education Scholarship Account (ESA) — meant to help students who require special education services — is up 200% for the upcoming school year, the Indiana Treasurer of State announced Monday.

The agency said more than 50% of the $10 million appropriated for ESAs in the 2024-25 academic year has already been committed to eligible students. The program application deadline is till two months away, on Sept. 1.

The office said that between the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, the number of K-12 students with disabilities who applied for and received ESA dollars increased by more than 200%.

Provider participation also increased by more than 130% for that same time period – with more joining “each week,” according to the treasurer’s office.

Additionally, nonpublic schools educating ESA students increased by more than 350% between the 2022-23 and 2023-24 terms.

“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.”

Kaetzel said the ESA program is continuing to grow, noting that 20% more providers are registered with the program for the 2024-25 school year compared to the year prior. The number of non-public schools participating in the program has additionally grown by 50%, compared to the 2023-24 school 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.

To be eligible for an ESA, school-aged Hoosiers must have an active service plan, Individualized Education Plan or Choice Special Education Plan (CSEP). They must also have an income below 400% of the Federal Free or Reduced School Meals limit, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

Accounts set up by the state treasurer’s office provide each qualifying student with thousands of dollars for private school tuition and various other educational services from providers outside of their school district.

Other expenses can include transportation, examinations and assessments, occupational therapy, paraprofessional or education aides, training programs and more.

The ESA program was created by the General Assembly in 2021 despite pushback from public education advocates who argued that the program lacks oversight and takes money away from traditional public schools.

During the 2024 legislative session, a top state Republican lawmaker floated a bill to eliminate the ESA program — in favor of a new grant program that would allow all Hoosier families, regardless of income, to choose where their students get educated.

The proposal did not advance, but discussion around the measure previewed possible legislative momentum in 2025.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Niki Kelly for questions: info@indianacapitalchronicle.com. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and X.

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for Maybach Media Newsletter

Republish This Article

We want our stories to be shared as widely as possible — for free.

Please view Maybach Media's republishing terms.

On Maybach Media Today