Iowans To Spend $76 Million On Private School Vouchers, So Far

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds reacts after signing a bill that creates education savings accounts, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Just a few days into the launch of Iowa’s new private school voucher program, Iowa taxpayers are already projected to spend about $76 million on private school tuition next school year.

Applications for Gov. Kim Reynolds’ new private school voucher program—called Students First Education Savings Accounts—opened on May 31.

For the first three days of the program’s launch, Reynolds used her social media accounts to provide updates on the number of students who signed up for the program. As of Friday, more than 10,000 people applied and if all are approved, it would cost the state about $76 million.  

Each scholarship provides a student with $7,598 to use toward private school tuition, although many private schools have raised rates to capitalize on the new state funds. There are income restrictions for applicants during the first two years of the program’s existence, but no caps beginning in year three. According to the Iowa Department of Education, there were 36,901 children enrolled in non-public schools in the state last school year.

The Iowa Legislative Services Agency (LSA) estimated the program’s first four years will cost about  $878 million, including about $107 million for the 2023-24 school year.

Fiscal impact of Iowa’s school voucher program.

The LSA also noted only 58 of Iowa’s 99 counties have an accredited non-public school.


by Ty Rushing

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