Q: What are ESAs?
A: An Education Savings Account (ESA) is a program whereby parents of public school students, in lieu of a K- 12 public school, choose to use a portion of a public school student’s state per pupil funding to customize an educational program to meet the specific educational needs of their child.
Q: Are there any eligibility or other requirements for the Education Savings Account program?
A: Yes. Nevada’s ESA program has one eligibility requirement. Every Nevada public school student who has been enrolled in a Nevada public school for the 100 consecutive school days immediately preceding their submission of an application to the program is eligible. In certain circumstances an exemption may apply. (See question on eligibility exemptions, below.) Students enrolled in Nevada public charter schools, including online and virtual charter schools, are also eligible. Nevada’s ESA program requires each participating child to take a norm-referenced achievement examination in mathematics and English language arts each school year; or, alternatively, the examinations in mathematics and English language arts required for pupils of the same grade pursuant to chapter 389 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.
Q: Are there any exemptions to the 100-day eligibility requirement?
A: Yes. Nevada regulation provides two exemptions to the 100-day eligibility rule:
· Children under the age of seven who are eligible to enroll in Nevada’s K-12 public school system are exempt from the 100-day public school enrollment requirement.
· Children of active duty military families stationed in Nevada, eligible to attend Nevada K-12 public schools, are exempt from the 100-day public school enrollment requirement regardless of age.
Q: I am new to Nevada. My children have not been enrolled in a Nevada school yet. Is he or she eligible for an ESA?
A: Generally speaking, no. To be eligible for an education savings account, a student must be enrolled in a Nevada public school for the 100 consecutive school days immediately preceding receipt of an ESA application. In certain circumstances, however, an exemption may apply. (See question on eligibility exemptions)
Q: Does a child have to reapply to the program each year?
A: No. Once a child is in the ESA program, he or she may remain in the program without reapplying if he or she chooses. However, parents must renew their participant agreement with the Treasurer’s office annually. If a student leaves the ESA program for any reason, they must fulfill the eligibility requirements and reapply to reenter the program.
Q: I have more than one child. Do I need a separate agreement and account for each child?
A: Yes. Every child needs his or her own Education Savings Account.
Q: I have more than one child. Do I need a separate application for each child?
A: Yes. An application must be submitted for each child.
Q: How can ESA funds be spent?
A: Funds must be used to provide educational services and instruction. Eligible expenses include:
· Tuition and fees for any participating entity;
· Textbooks for a child enrolled at a participating entity;
· Tutoring or other services provided by an eligible tutor or tutoring facility;
· Fees for nationally standardized norm-referenced achievement test, advanced placement exams, or any exam related to post-secondary admissions;
· Curriculum and supplemental materials;
· Fees for management of the ESA;
· Transportation required for the child to travel to and from a participating entity, up to $750 per school year.
Q: If money remains in an account at the end of the school year, what happens to that money?
A: At the end of each school year, money remaining in an ESA account may be carried over to the next school year if an agreement is renewed. If an agreement is not renewed, any remaining money reverts back to the State General Fund.
Q: What happens to any remaining money if an ESA agreement is not renewed, is terminated, or a student graduates or leaves the state?
A: If an agreement is not renewed or is terminated, because the child for whom the account was established graduates from high school or for any other reason, any remaining money reverts to the State General Fund at the end of the last day of the agreement.
Have a question that wasn’t addressed here? Email Karen Gray at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and she will answer it for you. Check back as the FAQs will be continually updated.