Everything You Need to Know About The Students First Act

Enrichment Therapies

January 16, 2024

desk with pencils and paper

By: Ashley Conrad, M.A., CCC-SLP

With all the changes that occur within the school system on a seemingly daily basis, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on everything! Have you heard of the Iowa Students First Act? Maybe you heard it being discussed or understand what it is but don’t quite understand the details or how it will affect you and your child(ren). If so, you came to the right place! Keep reading to learn more about the Iowa Students First Act. 

What Is The Students First Act?

The Students First Act was signed into law on January 24, 2023. This act provides state education funding for Kindergarten through 12th-grade students who choose to attend private schools. The act also provides funding for public schools when students who live within their district choose to attend private schools. 

How Does The Students First Act Work?

Each year, parents of children attending accredited private schools will receive an amount of money that is equal to the amount allocated to a single student within public school districts. While this amount may vary from year to year, the estimated per-student amount for the 2023-2024 school year is approximately $7,598. 

This money will be placed in each individual student’s education savings account (ESA). The funds will continue to be deposited each year until the individual student graduates, completes high school, or turns 20 years old. Any balances will be returned to the general state fund. 

Does Your Child Qualify?

The Students First Act began during the 2023-2024 school year. Since the act is just beginning, the plan is to implement it slowly. The following is a breakdown of who is eligible to receive funds through the Students First Act over the next few school years:

  • 2023-2024 School Year:
    • All kindergarten students
    • All public school students
    • Private school students with a household income at or below 300% federal poverty level, according to 2023 federal poverty guidelines
  • 2024-2025 School Year:
    • All kindergarten students
    • All public school students
    • Private school students with a household income at or below 400% federal poverty level, according to 2024 federal poverty guidelines
  • 2025-2026 School Year:
    • All kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Iowa at all income levels

What Can The Funds Be Used For?

The funds can be used for a variety of things that fall under the “tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses” category. Eligible expenses specifically include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Textbooks
  • Curriculum fees
  • Software (e.g., Microsoft Office)
  • Laptops
  • Instruments
  • Educational therapy services (e.g., tutoring, speech therapy, reading instruction, executive functioning, auditory processing) 
  • Cognitive skills training
  • Standardized test fees
  • Vocational and life skills education 

Ineligible expenses specifically include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Clothing
  • Backpacks
  • Printers
  • Art supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Childcare 
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Transportation costs

How Do You Use The Funds?

Many of the above-listed eligible expenses are billed by the school and automatically eligible, meaning that the items/services are provided through the child’s school and do not require additional permissions before purchasing. 

In addition to items/services being billed by the school, many eligible expenses can be billed by a registered and authorized vendor. This means that certain eligible items/services can be purchased outside of the school using the student’s educational savings account. Before purchasing, it would be a great idea to double-check that the vendor is authorized, as well as confirm that the item/service is automatically eligible. If the item/service is not automatically eligible, additional verification will be required. 

For further details regarding eligible/ineligible expenses and automatically eligible/additional verification required items/services, please refer to the eligible expenses list.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center Provides Support

The services offered by Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center are eligible for funding under the Students First Act and the Educational Savings Plan qualifying students receive. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center, our mission is to give hope and support to families by helping children of all ages achieve their God-given potential. We provide an individualized approach to improve each child’s ability to communicate, socialize, and achieve academic growth. We are a bridge to success. Are you interested in learning more about our services? Click here to contact us!  


740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317



5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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