Alabama Becomes the 11th State with Universal Education Freedom. Which State will be Next?

Families will be able to access up to $7,000 for expenses like tuition, testing fees, therapies for students with special needs, textbooks, and more.

Earlier this morning, Alabama officially became the 11th state with universal education freedom following Governor Ivey’s signature on HB 129. The legislation, titled the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students’ Education Act, creates an education freedom account program that all students will be able to apply for by 2027. The bill was championed by Governor Ivey as her signature priority for the legislative session and was led through the legislature by Representative Danny Garrett and Senator Arthur Orr.

ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson commended Alabama leaders for their policy victory:

ALEC and the Education Freedom Alliance congratulate Governor Ivey, Senator Orr, Representative Garrett, and the many other lawmakers who helped make universal education freedom a reality for Alabama families. Thanks to their efforts, Alabama is the 11th state to pass universal education freedom, demonstrating the unstoppable momentum behind this movement. Parents across the country are no longer asking for choice in education – they are demanding it. State lawmakers are leading the way toward this new reality.

The new education freedom account program will be available to families with a household income below 300% of the federal poverty level in 2025 and 2026. In 2027 and beyond, the program will open to all students in the state. Families will be able to access up to $7,000 for qualifying educational expenses like tuition, testing fees, therapies for students with special needs, textbooks, and more.  Families that choose to homeschool can receive up to $2,000 for qualifying educational expenses per student up to a maximum of $4,000 per year.

The Education Freedom Alliance featured the Yellowhammer State as a top target for 2024. In ALEC’s 2023 Index of State Education Freedom, Alabama ranked 22nd among the states for its education freedom environment. With passage of HB 129, Alabama is poised to become one of the top 10 states for education freedom in the 2024 edition and joins 10 other states that have passed universal education freedom programs since 2021 (West Virginia, Arizona, Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and Oklahoma). Several other states including Louisiana, Tennessee, and Missouri are also considering universal education freedom bills this year.

Voters and lawmakers around the country continue to send the message loud and clear – all students and families deserve the ability to access the learning environment that will best serve them whether that school be public, private, charter, virtual, home-based, or something else.  Thanks to the efforts of Governor Ivey and state legislators, all Alabama families will soon be able to make this decision for themselves and put every student in the best position to succeed.

In Depth: Education

An excellent education has long been recognized as key to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the current monopolistic and expensive K-12 education system is failing our students, leaving them unprepared for college, careers, or life. Similarly, our higher education system is leaving students with higher debt burdens and fewer career guarantees…

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