Individualized Education Account Program

Program Information

  • ESA
  • Program Type: Education Savings Account Program, Special Needs Program

Student Participation

  • Student must:
    • Have one of following disabilities in the active IEP at the time of request for participation in the program: autism, deaf-blindness, developmental delay, hearing impairments, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairments, traumatic brain injury or visual impairments
    • Meets at least one of the following requirement
      • Was previously enrolled in and attended a Tennessee public school for the one full school year immediately preceding the school year in which the student receives and Individualized Education Account (IEA); or
      • Is entering kindergarten for the first time; or
      • Has not previously attended a school in Tennessee during the one full school year immediately preceding the school year in which the student receives an IEA, and moved to Tennessee less than one year prior to the date of enrollment in the IEA Program; or
      • Received an IEA in the previous year
  • Parent must sign an agreement promising to:
    • Waive the student's rights to services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    • Provide an education for the student in at least the subjects of English language arts, math, social studies and science
    • Enroll the student in a nonpublic school (which includes private and home schools) that meets the compulsory school attendance requirements in state law
    • Not enroll the student in a public school and to release the public school system from all obligations to educate the student
    • Use program funds only for authorized purposes
    • Submit quarterly expense reports and receipts for all IEA funds expended to the Tennessee Department of Education by the date set by the department
    • Spend 50% of the total amount of the annual IEA award by the date the fourth quarter expense report is due
    • Ensure that the student, if in grades 3–8, takes all appropriate standardized tests, either a nationally norm-referenced test identified by the Tennessee Department of Education or the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests
  • Certify that the school will not discriminate against students or applicants on the basis of race, color or national origin
  • Demonstrate financial viability to repay any funds that may be owed to the state
  • Conduct criminal background checks on employees and exclude from employment any person not permitted by state law to work in a nonpublic school and any person who might reasonably pose a threat to the safety of students
  • Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to nonpublic schools
  • Provide to the department all documentation required for a student’s participation, including the school’s and student’s fee schedules and a school calendar
  • Annually provide to the parent a written explanation of the student’s progress
  • If the student is in grades 3–8, and if requested by the parent, the school shall annually administer either a nationally norm-referenced test(s) identified by the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) or the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test(s), or any future replacements of the TCAP test(s)
  • Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to nonpublic schools and the profession of the participating provider
  • Provide parents with a receipt for all qualifying expenses
  • Annually submit to the TDOE the graduation and completion rates of students in the IEA Program by June 15
  • Submit to the TDOE a financial audit of the school conducted by a certified public accountant, if requested by the TDOE
  • If a student withdraws from the school and transfers to another participating school or returns to the school district, refund the tuition and fees on a prorated basis based on the number of days the student was enrolled in the school following the procedures set by the TDOE
  • Upon a student’s withdrawal from the school, send all educational records of the participating student to the school district or other school identified by the parent

Data Update

Scholarships Awarded
88
Schools Participating
14
2017 Expenditures
$298,986

Financial

Scholarship Cap
- Scholarship amount cannot exceed the per-pupil state and local funds generated and required through the Basic Education Program (BEP) for the school district in which the student resides and is zoned to attend
Enrollment Cap
- None
Program Funding
- No specific program appropriation