Utah Parents and Students Celebrate Passage of Universal Education Savings Accounts

Utah becomes second state this year to pass universal ESA bill.

Utah now joins West Virginia, Arizona, and Iowa as the fourth state with universal education savings accounts (ESAs) for its students – a growing policy trend among state lawmakers that creates more expansive and inclusive educational opportunities for families.

Last week was a National School Choice Week to remember as Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa signed HF 69 into law – a bill that creates the most expansive education savings account (ESA) program in the country. Iowa’s program will permit every student in the state to participate within three years and ties funding directly to the state education funding formula, thus allowing 100% of state education dollars to follow the student.

But Iowa wasn’t the only state to pass such a momentous program as Governor Spencer Cox of Utah signed HB 215 into law on Friday, creating universal ESAs for families in his state as well. The bill, sponsored by Utah State Representative Candice Pierucci, establishes the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program and allows every student in the state to participate. Funding for the program is based on legislative appropriations and capped at $8,000 for the 2024 school year. In addition, public school teachers in the state are set to receive a $6,000 pay raise as part of the bill.

A number of other states, including Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia, and Oklahoma are also considering universal ESAs this year, meaning the number of states with this policy is likely to grow in the coming months.

Lawmakers who are interested in bringing these policies to their state can consult ALEC’s Hope Scholarship Act, which establishes a universal ESA program and allows 100% of state education dollars to follow the student. The model policy also recommends key accountability and implementation measures that safeguard taxpayer dollars and ensure the program remains nimble as the needs of American families change.

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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