DES MOINES – Governor Reynolds’ landmark Students First Education Savings Account (ESA) program, which promotes universal school choice for K-12 students in Iowa, officially opens for applications on Wednesday, May 31, at 8 a.m.  

Parents and guardians can access the online application from a link on the Department of Education’s ESA webpage at The link will redirect them to the Students First ESA platform managed by Odyssey, the program administrator selected by the state. The link will not be activated until 8 a.m. on May 31 when the application period opens. Applications are available in English and Spanish, and will be accepted until Friday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. 

The Students First Act was signed into law earlier this year and will provide state funding for eligible students who attend accredited nonpublic schools starting in the upcoming school year.  Students must be residents of Iowa and attend an accredited nonpublic school located in Iowa. 

All incoming kindergarteners and all K-12 students currently attending a public school who choose to enroll in an accredited nonpublic school for the 2023-2024 school year are eligible for the ESA program regardless of income.  

Students who attended an accredited nonpublic school at any time during the 2022-2023 school year are eligible for the 2023-2024 school year if their household income is at or below 300% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Income eligibility will be automatically verified during the application process using the parent’s or guardian’s 2022 Iowa State Tax Return. If a parent did not file a 2022 tax return in Iowa, other documentation will be required to complete their application. 

Parents planning to apply can find answers to frequently asked questions about the application process, eligibility, and more on the Department of Education’s ESA webpage.  

After the ESA application period opens, technical support will be available from Odyssey representatives by phone at 515-368-9564 or email at