ESA-Education Savings Accounts & the Opportunity Scholarship
Although Education Savings Accounts passed legislation in the 2015 Legislative Session, they have yet to be funded. In 2017 the Opportunity Scholarship was passed and has already been utilized this fall by children in Nevada for the 2017-2018 school year. Here is the latest update from the Nevada Treasurer's page:
ESA Families, Unfortunately, in the closing hours of Nevada's Legislative session a compromise was not reached that would fund Nevada's Education Savings Account (ESA) Program. Rather the legislature chose to make a one-time increase of 20 million dollars available to Nevada's Opportunity Scholarship program that is operated by Nevada's Department of Education, in conjunction with Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGO). Unlike Nevada's nearly universal ESA program, the Opportunity Scholarship is only available to those families whose household income (gross) falls within 300% of the poverty line. In an effort to help ESA families transition to this program, our office received the following information from Nevada's Department of Education to pass along to families interested in exploring this opportunity for School Choice. Go to http://www.doe.nv.gov/Private_Schools/Nevada_Choice_Scholarship_Program/ On the right hand side, under Resources is a link to 2017 Poverty Guidelines (external link) open it and multiply the poverty income for your household size by 3. Compare that amount to your household income (gross). If your income is, equal or less than the product when you multiplied your child will be eligible.
If your family is eligible, in the middle of the page you will see Registered Scholarship Grant Organizations List (pdf). When you click on the list you will find FOUR organizations. Visit their web pages to view their applications. Each of these organizations (SGOs) has its own application and its own deadlines. Complete the application and send the whole package with $25.00 to the SGO. They will determine IF an award will be made and HOW MUCH it will be. You may apply to more than one SGO and your child may receive more than one award. The total may not exceed the maximum allowed - during this school year it was $7,763. While this solution may not work for all families, many ESA families may have an opportunity to utilize this program. if you are interested in contacting the Nevada Department of Education directly please reach out to Donna Wix at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely,
Grant Hewitt Chief of Staff Office of Nevada State Treasurer - Dan Schwartz