Application period opens April 16 at 8 a.m. and closes on June 30 at 11:59 p.m.

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Education today announced that the Students First Education Savings Account (ESA) program officially opens for applications for the 2024-25 school year on Tuesday, April 16, at 8 a.m.

Parents and guardians can access the online application from a link on the Students First Education Savings Accounts webpage. The link will redirect them to the Students First ESA platform managed by Odyssey, the third-party program administrator competitively selected by the state. When the application period opens at 8:00 a.m. on April 16, new applicants will be required to first create an Odyssey account before starting the application process. Returning applicants will log in to their existing account to complete a new application for the 2024-25 school year. Applications are available in English and Spanish and will be accepted until Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m.

The Students First Act, introduced by Governor Reynolds and signed into law on Jan. 24, 2023, makes the state funding intended for a child’s education available to be directed by parents and guardians of eligible students who attend accredited nonpublic schools. Eligible students must be residents of Iowa and must attend an accredited nonpublic school that is located in Iowa.

All returning students who used an ESA during the 2023-24 school year, incoming kindergarteners and all K-12 students currently attending a public school who choose to enroll in an accredited nonpublic school for the 2024-25 school year are eligible for the ESA program, regardless of their family income.  

Beginning this year, students who attended an accredited nonpublic school at any time during the 2023-24 school year and did not receive an ESA are eligible for the 2024-25 school year if their household income is at or below 400% of the 2024 Federal Poverty Level. For example, a family of four would be eligible for the 2024-25 school year if their household income was at or below $124,800.

Residency and income eligibility, when required, will be automatically verified during the application process using the parent’s or guardian’s 2023 Iowa State Tax Return. If a 2023 tax return was not filed in Iowa, the applicant must provide other allowable documentation to verify student eligibility.

Families 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.  

Technical support is available from Odyssey representatives by phone at 515-368-9564 or email at