Breakdown of Iowa School Vouchers and where they’ve gone by state

August 10, 2023 by No Comments

The figures are now available regarding the level of student participation in Iowa’s state school voucher initiative.

As of Monday, the state has confirmed that 18,627 applications for Students First Education Savings Accounts have been accepted, with fewer than 1,000 applications still undergoing review.

This initiative enables students attending private schools to receive a maximum of $7,500 each, which they can allocate towards tuition or other educational services of their choice. The aim of the program is to enhance educational options in Iowa, yet critics contend that it diverts funds from public schools and lacks sufficient state oversight on how private institutions utilize these tax funds.

As part of the recent announcement, a breakdown by county has been provided to indicate the number of approved students. Notably, two Siouxland counties, Woodbury and Sioux, rank among the top 10 counties with the highest student enrollment in the program, having 916 and 1,183 approved student applications respectively.

Predominantly, the accepted applications across the state stem from Iowa’s most populous counties, which also house the largest number of state-accredited private schools.

Interestingly, there are three counties – Decatur, Louisa, and Ringgold – where no applications have been approved. These counties are part of the subset in Iowa without any private schools.

Opponents of the program had initially contended that its focus on private schools in urban areas could disadvantage rural regions that are unable to utilize the program. This concern led certain Republican lawmakers to obstruct Governor Reynolds’ plan in 2022.

However, the latest data illustrates that a majority of Iowa’s counties without accredited private schools still have students who have received approval for the ESA program, albeit in smaller quantities. The chart below provides the count of approved vouchers for each of Iowa’s 99 counties. Once a student’s application is accepted into the program, they must secure admission to a private school by September 30th; failure to do so will result in the ESA not receiving funding.

Leave a Comment