Arkansas General Assembly Passes Education Freedom Accounts
The Arkansas General Assembly passed the LEARNS Act Tuesday, establishing Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs). Much like the Education Savings Accounts passed in other states, Arkansas’ EFA program will create personal accounts that store a child’s state education dollars. Parents can use these funds to pay for school tuition and fees, textbooks, tutoring and special therapies, and other approved expenses.
Expanding education freedom was one of Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ top priorities once entering office. Once the bill is signed, Arkansas will join Iowa, Utah, and Arizona in establishing Education Savings Accounts for which all students will ultimately be eligible.
Statement from Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children:
“Today is a monumental day for families across Arkansas and the nation, as the school choice wave continues. Soon, each student in the state will have access to an educational freedom account, as Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has decisively carried through on her promise to empower parents with real choices. We applaud her and members of the state legislature for standing strong and urge leaders in states across the country to swiftly follow her example.”
- The LEARNS Act passed the Arkansas House 76-19 and the Arkansas Senate 26-8.
- Governor Sanders is expected to sign the bill into law this week.
- The LEARNS Act allows 90 percent of state education funding, or approximately $6,600 per student annually, to be deposited in Education Freedom Accounts for families to use on school tuition and fees, textbooks, tutoring, therapies, and other approved expenses.
- Eligibility will be phased in over three years, with all students eligible by year three.
- In passing this bill, Arkansas becomes the third state to enact major school choice legislation so far in 2023.