LEARNS EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM ACCOUNT PROGRAM

The Arkansas Children's Educational Freedom Account (EFA) Program created by the LEARNS Act empowers families with access to choices for their children’s education.

SIGN UP FOR UPDATES HERE

Apply HERE.

After a successful 2023-24, the Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account (EFA) Program is growing for 2024-25. Administrative rules governing the program are currently being updated . This page will be updated as that process continues.

 

You can find a list of approved schools accepting EFA funds HERE. This list is subject to updates.

Be sure to visit the Arkansas Department of Education LEARNS website by clicking here.

The Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account (EFA) Program provides flexible funding to families who find that a traditional public school does not meet their student’s specific educational needs. Families who choose to participate in this program will have 90% of their child’s state education funding deposited in an online Educational Freedom Account. State educational funding in 2023-24 was $7,618. Parents can then use that funding to pay for approved school expenses, such as tuition at an eligible private school and other educational needs. 

Who can apply for an Educational Freedom Account (EFA)?

EFA Eligibility 2024-25
EFA Eligibility grows each year

Eligible children must meet one of the following criteria to qualify for an Education Freedom Account for the 2024-25 school year:

  • Students from the Succeed Scholarship Program
  • Students with a disability (IDEA)
  • Current or former foster care children
  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • Children of active-duty military personnel
  • Children of a military reservist
  • Children of a US military veteran under Title 38
  • Children of a first responder or law enforcement officer
  • Students from “D” or “F” public schools (2023-24 school year) or schools in “Level 5” districts
  • Kindergartners (private school only)

The parent or guardian also must be a resident of Arkansas and the student must be eligible to enroll in a public elementary or secondary school in Arkansas.

In 2025-2026: Any K-12 student in the state of Arkansas will qualify for the program. 

For the 2024-25 school year, there is a statewide cap on the percentage of students who can participate in the program (3% of the total public school population, or about 14,000 students). But, by 2025, there will be no enrollment cap at all. So, even if you are not able to participate this year, you should be able to enroll next year. 

What learning expenses can families use the program for?

Like eligibility, what expenses families can pay for through the program will become more flexible with time. For the 2023-2024 school year, students can use the funds for traditional school expenses like tuition, fees, testing, and the cost of required school uniforms, supplies, technology, and services at a participating school.

In 2024-2025, qualifying expenses will expand to include tutoring services, curriculum, transportation costs to participating schools, technological devices for students’ educational needs (with specific costs such as entertainment devices prohibited), fees for courses and exams for college credit or career training, educational services by accredited practitioners for students with disabilities, and more. 

The program has a “rollover provision,” which means that if a family does not use all of their funds in a specific year, the funds will roll over to the next year, as long as the student still participates in the program. 

How will the Educational Freedom Account (EFA) impact existing state scholarship programs?

For many years, the Arkansas Succeed Scholarship Program provided private school vouchers for students with disabilities, foster children, and military families. The Succeed Scholarship will be absorbed into the Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account (EFA) Program in August 2023. If your student currently receives a Succeed Scholarship, they will receive priority for the Educational Freedom Account (EFA) program. Note that families were required to complete an annual student certification to continue to receive funds for the 2023-2024 school year. 

Arkansas’ tax-credit scholarship for income-eligible children, the Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids Scholarship Program, will continue to run separately. Income-eligible students with special needs may even be eligible to receive funds from both programs, if necessary, to cover qualifying learning expenses. The LEARNS Act actually expands the Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids Scholarship Program by raising the cap on donations to the program. This may increase the number of scholarships available to students.   

Webinar with Dustin Wood, Arkansas Department of Education, March 26, 2024

On March 26, 2024, The Reform Alliance hosted a virtual webinar with Dustin Wood of the Arkansas Department of Education, who shared information about enrolling in the EFA program for the 2024-25 school year.

Webinar with Darrell Smith, Arkansas Department of Education, Jan. 23, 2024

On Jan. 23, 2024, The Reform Alliance hosted a virtual webinar with Darrell Smith, who heads the EFA program at the Arkansas Department of Education and shared information about the EFA program would be expanding for the 2024-25 school year.

Virtual Town Hall with Sec. Jacob Oliva - March 29, 2023

On March 29, 2023, The Reform Alliance hosted a virtual town hall with Arkansas Sec. of Education Jacob Oliva, in which he shared information about the EFA program and answered public questions. You can watch that town hall below.

Town Halls with Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Arkansas Sec. of Education Jacob Oliva have been hosting town halls to share information about Arkansas LEARNS, including in Jonesboro, Texarkana, Russellville,Cabot, and El Dorado. During these live events, each of them presented information and answered questions from audience members. Watch these event below.

Posted by Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday, April 24, 2023
Posted by Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Posted by Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday, May 15, 2023
Posted by Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday, May 22, 2023
Posted by Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday, June 6, 2023

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at questions@thereformalliance.org or call (501) 244-9028.


Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids

K-12 Scholarship Programs

Arkansas currently has two programs that give families additional education options!

Click here for more details

Choice in Arkansas

Click the name of the program for more information.

The Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account (EFA) Program provides funding for eligible students to meet specific education expenses, including private school tuition, fees, uniforms and other expenses required by the school. Eligible students in 2023-24 include those on the Succeed Scholarship Program in 2022-23, students with disabilities, those who are or ever have been in foster care, students of active duty military, students entering kindergarten for the first time, students of F-ranked schools and students at school rated Level 5- Intensive Support by the Arkansas Department of Education.

EFA Eligibility 2024-25

The Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids Program provides funding for eligible students to attend private schools. Students are eligible for the program if the family's income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Students who enroll in the EFA program with disabilities (details above) can also still qualify for the PIAK based on household income and receive the benefits of BOTH programs!

PIAK Eligibility

If you have any questions about the program or would like more information, please contact our office at info@thereformalliance.org or (501) 244-9028.


Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids

Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids

Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids provides resources for families who need access to additional education options.

Do you want your state income tax dollars to directly fund K-12 students in Arkansas?

Here's your chance: The Reform Alliance (TRA) is accepting donations for the new Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids program.

Who can contribute?

Individual or businesses that pay income taxes in Arkansas can claim a state tax credit for up to 100% of their annual income tax liability by donating to scholarship granting organizations, like TRA.

What does it do?

The donations will fund scholarships for K-12 students to attend qualified private schools. The scholarships gives students the chance to learn, grow and thrive in the environment that best meets their needs!

Here's how it works:

Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas

Estimate your donation

Taxpayers estimate their 2023 Arkansas state income tax liability and make a donation. Then, they complete this credit application form and send it to info@thereformalliance.org.

Don’t worry if your donation exceeds your 2023 liability: You may carry your credits forward for up to three years.

Donate Now
Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas

TRA notifies the DF&A

The Reform Alliance will notify the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

The Reform Alliance will also issue the K-12 scholarships for income-qualified students to attend a qualified private school of choice. Students flourish in schools that meet their needs!

Credit application form
Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas

DF&A issues tax credit

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration will issue a tax credit certificate for the full amount of the contribution.

The amount available for state income tax credits is limited to $2 million per tax year, so taxpayers need to act quickly to reserve their credits.

Contact us
The Department of Finance and Administration refers to the program here, or you can expand the section below.

Act 904 of 2021 provides educational scholarship grants for eligible students to attend non-public schools. Act 904 provides an income tax credit to donors equal to 100% of contributions to scholarship-granting organizations (SGO’s). The credit may not exceed an eligible taxpayer’s income tax due. Unused income tax credits may be carried forward for three years. The Office of Tax Credits/Special Refunds of the Arkansas DFA will issue tax credits on a first-come, first-served basis up to $2,000,000 per calendar year.

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) of the Department of Education will track grants and prepare an annual report on the program.

Any unused credit may be carried forward for 3 consecutive years.

To claim the credits authorized, attach to the tax return a copy of the Certificate of Tax Credit issued by Tax Credits/Special Refunds section of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

The email address is PIAKP.TaxCredit@dfa.arkansas.gov.

The form is located at Tax Credits/Special Refunds – Tax Credits and Special Refunds Forms.

Who is eligible for a scholarship?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Applications for the PIAK scholarship for the 2024-25 school year are now open!

If you would like to receive updates about the program, please click here.

PARENTS: Start the application process HERE by creating an account. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

Why should we apply?

Every child learns differently, and sometimes students need a different learning environment, like smaller classrooms, individualized instruction or teachers specialized in working with certain learning disabilities.

The Reform Alliance gathers feedback from parents of students in the PIAK program annually, and nearly all parents report that students improve academically and show growth in their social development once they find the school that meets their needs. Click here to see the results! 

You can also hear stories from families who have used the PIAK, as well as the former Succeed Scholarship and the Educational Freedom Account (EFA) program that replaced it in 2023, by following us on social media or watching the videos to the right.

If you have any questions about the program or would like more information, please contact our office at info@thereformalliance.org or (501) 244-9028.