FAQ: School Choice in Arizona

Arizona School Choice offers a variety of exciting educational options that allow parents like you to choose the school that best suits your child’s needs. From open enrollment policies and magnet schools to charter schools, school vouchers, and scholarship tax credits, there are options for everyone.

General School Choice 

Does Arizona allow school choice?

Yes! Arizona offers various K-12 school options, including private schools, charter schools, magnet schools, homeschooling, and public school choice through open enrollment. 

To help fund their child’s education, there are five tuition assistance programs families can use, including one ESA program and four tax-credit scholarship programs. The ESA program allows parents to customize their child’s education, including private school tuition, tutoring, therapy, and more. Tax-credit scholarships help families afford private school education.

Can I live in one school district and send my child to another in AZ?

You can! In Arizona, open enrollment in public schools is unrestricted. You can send your child to any public school in the state, regardless of your district or the school’s location, as long as there is availability. Each district’s policies are available in English and Spanish and include transportation provisions for students. Also, public schools cannot charge tuition for transfer students. This option is free, and you can visit multiple schools to find the best fit for your family.

General Arizona ESA FAQs

What is the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program?

The ESA program in Arizona lets parents receive a portion of their child’s public school funding when they opt out of public schools. The funding can then be used for private school tuition, online education, education therapies, private tutoring, or future educational expenses. Families with an ESA receive 90% of the state’s per-student base funding (see the “Funding” section below for more specific information on ESA funds).

How does the Arizona ESA work?

If you’re considering the ESA option for your child’s education, know that you’ll have to sign a contract with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). This contract states that you’ll agree to follow certain rules and guidelines set by the ADE. In return, the ADE will create an ESA for your child for the current school year and transfer funds to it every quarter.

Why would I consider applying for an Arizona ESA?

The ADE believes that families should be able to decide what type of education is best for their child. The ESA program makes this possible by allowing parents to choose the school that best meets their child’s needs. This means that the money that would have been spent on their child’s education in a public neighborhood school can be used for education at home or at another school of their choice.

Who qualifies for the ESA in Arizona?

Any student who lives in Arizona is eligible for the Arizona ESA. It doesn’t matter how much money a student’s family makes, how well they do in school, or where they live in the state. The program gives money to students who attend private schools, are homeschooled, or attend public schools. This way, more students can get the best education for their needs.

Applying for the Arizona ESA

How do I apply for the Arizona ESA?

The process for applying to the Arizona ESA is simple! Follow three simple steps:

  1. Submit your ESA application with all relevant and required documents.
  2. Once your application has been processed, sign the contract.
  3. Once you’re accepted into the program, you can access the funds in your ESA ClassWallet to pay for approved vendors and schools.

How do I check my ESA application status?

Once you submit your application, it could take up to 30 days to process. Once it’s finished processing, you’ll receive an email with the ADE’s final decision. Unfortunately, the ADE can’t provide updates during the processing period.

How long after I submit my ESA application will I receive a decision?

After submitting a completed application, the final determination can take up to 30 days and is sent via email. Applicants can check their application status online via the ADE ESA website.

What are the Arizona ESA application deadlines?

You can apply online at any time of the year!

Do I need to re-apply every year?

There’s no need to re-apply since students and families who already have an ESA are considered renewing students. If you have any remaining funds in your ESA, they’ll roll over for the next school year when you sign the renewal contract.


How much funding will I get through the Arizona ESA?

In general, the average amount of funding is approximately 90% of the state’s per-student funding. The specific amount of funding your child will receive depends on the state’s budget and their eligibility for ESA.

Here were the average funding amounts from the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Average funding for kindergarteners with no disabilities in 2022-2023: $4,000 – $5,000
  • Average funding for grades 1-12 with no disabilities in 2022-2023: $6,000 – $9,000
  • Average funding for grades K-12 with disabilities in 2022-2023: $6,000 – $43,000, depending on the grade and type/severity of the disability

When are the Arizona ESA funding dates?

Funding for ESA accounts is provided quarterly, beginning with the quarter in which the contract is signed. If your ESA account is in good standing, you can expect to receive the requested funds every quarter between the 15th and 30th of the first month. However, it may take 5-7 business days for the funds to reflect in your account, so the exact deposit dates may vary.

Quarterly dates:

  • Q1:  July 1 – September 30
  • Q2:  October 1 – December 31
  • Q3:  January 1 – March 31
  • Q4:  April 1 – June 30

What is the ESA ClassWallet?

ClassWallet is a helpful tool for parents to manage their child’s education expenses in a simple and secure way. With ClassWallet, parents can easily pay tuition fees, purchase educational materials, and manage other education-related expenses hassle-free. It’s like a one-stop shop for all your child’s education-related payments!

Can I receive funding to enroll my child mid-semester / mid-year?

Yes! ESA accepts applications year-round.

How does funding work if I enroll my child mid-semester / mid-year?

The amount of funding you will receive is determined by the quarter in which the ESA contract is signed. For example, if you sign the contract anytime between July 1 and September 30, you will be eligible for Q1 funding. Similarly, if you sign the contract from October 1 to December 31, you will be eligible for Q2 funding, and so on.

Using Your Arizona ESA Funds

Can the Arizona ESA be used for homeschooling?

ESA funds can be used to support homeschooling and other forms of home education. It’s important to note, however, that by state law, ESA students are not classified as “homeschool” students, and therefore, they do not need to file homeschool affidavits.

What is on the Arizona ESA-approved spending list?

The list is broken down into the following categories: 

  • Tuition, fees, and textbooks at a qualified School
  • Tutoring services
  • Curriculum
  • Tuition or fees for a nonpublic online learning program
  • Fees for nationally standardized norm-referenced achievement tests and grade level testing
  • Tuition, fees, and textbooks at an eligible postsecondary institution
  • Account fees
  • Services provided by a public school
  • Uniforms

For more detailed information, see the Arizona ESA-Approved Spending List.

Where can I find approved ESA schools and vendors?

The list of ESA-approved schools can be found on the participating schools page, and the list of approved vendors can be found on the ESA vendor database. 

Can the Arizona ESA be used for faith-based schools?

Yes, the Arizona ESA can be used for faith-based schools like Christian or Catholic schools.

What if the Arizona ESA doesn’t fully cover my child’s tuition?

If you’re using the funds in your ESA to pay for your child’s tuition, but the school’s tuition fees are more than what the ESA funding covers, then the parent has to pay the remaining amount.

Additionally, parents can’t use both tax credit scholarships and ESA funds to pay for tuition for the same student at the same time. If a parent decides to use ESA funds for educational expenses other then tuition — like tutoring or special services — then they need to pay for the student’s tuition themselves.

Can the ESA be used if my child has an IEP or 504 Plan?

Yes! However, additional documents and information are required if your child has a disability, IEP, MET, or 504 Plan at the time of application:

  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of residency
  • The MET report, 504, or IEP plan

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