AFC Celebrates New Utah ESA Program
Saturday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed into law a bill creating an Education Savings Account (ESA) for all Utah children. This follows earlier passage of the bill by referendum-proof votes of 54-to-20 in the Utah House of Representatives and 20-to-8 in the Utah Senate.
Today’s victory for students was years in the making. Legislation that would have created a similar ESA program was proposed in 2022 but failed to pass. Utah families and a broad coalition of grassroots organizations as well as legislative leadership worked to create a bill that would garner the support of a large majority of legislators as well as the governor.
Statement from Elisa Clements, COO of the American Federation for Children:
“We are grateful to Governor Cox for signing this bill and we applaud Representative Candice Pierucci, Senator Kirk Cullimore and House and Senate Leadership for their commitment to serving the needs of all Utah children. This new program will provide essential opportunities for families whose children are better served in other educational environments.”
- HB 215 establishes the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program, an Education Savings Account Program available to every student in the state of Utah.
- Once implemented, students will be eligible for an ESA of $8,000 per year to be used for qualified education expenses including private school tuition, therapies, tutors, and curriculum.
- Lower-income families receive preference in the application process, and the program also allows partial scholarship awards for students who maintain partial enrollment in their public school.
- The program has a cap of $42 million per year.
- The law also provides a pay increase for public school teachers.