Each student in the ESA program will
receive approximately $7,000
for the 2020-21 school year.

Funds in an ESA may only be used for educational purposes. This includes:

TN ESA Infographic

Obligations

Enrollment

Once an application has been approved, if the parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) intends on utilizing the ESA for tuition and other approved expenses, an eligible student must apply to and be accepted at a participating private school. Parents (or students who have reached the age of 18) must then upload their acceptance letter to their FACTS Management online platform to claim the ESA award.

Then, the parent must complete enrollment procedures set by the department. This includes signing an agreement to participate in the program and registering for the payment management system.

Signed Agreement

The parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) must sign an agreement to:

  • Provide an education for the participating student that meets the school attendance requirement in state law [T.C.A. 49-6-3001(c)(1)] through enrollment in a state board-approved Category I, II, or III private school.
  • Comply with the requirement that participating students in grades 3-11 participate in the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests for math and English language arts each year of enrollment in the program.
  • Not enroll the participating student in the Individualized Education Account (IEA) program during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA Program.
  • Release the local district and student’s zoned school from all responsibilities to educate the student during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA program. Participation in the program waives the student’s right to receive specially-designed instruction and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Participation in the program also makes the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) invalid, and the student will not be entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) from the public school district. The availability of disability-related service will be limited.
  • Follow the acceptable uses of ESA funds and the responsibilities of the parent of an eligible student (or eligible student who has reached the age of 18).

Financial Accountability

Account holders* must get pre-approval for tuition and fees, computer hardware or other technological devices, tutoring services, educational therapy services, summer education programs, and specialized after-school education programs. Pre-approvals will be managed in the payment management online platform.

The department will directly pay all tuition fees to the school. Private school tuition will be set aside before all other requests for reimbursement are processed if the account holder indicates the ESA will be used for tuition at a participating private school.

The ESA will be funded on August 15 and January 15 of each year. Participating schools will provide the parent a tuition and fees invoice for payment up to two weeks before the account is funded.

All other expenses will be paid to service providers within 10 business days of a parent submitting an invoice for payment, providing the service provider has registered for payment in the payment management system.

Unused Funds

Account holders are not required to spend the whole sum each year. Unused funds are transferred to the account holder’s balance for the following year, after the family has met all eligibility requirements.

Misspent Funds

If the department determines that an ESA account holder has misspent funds, the department may remove the account holder from eligibility for an ESA. Otherwise, the Department may notify the account holder that they are responsible for repaying the misspent amount.

The department is authorized to freeze or withdraw funding directly from the student’s ESA for several reasons.

These reasons include: fraud; misuse of funds; failure to follow state laws, rules, procedures or the signed agreement; the student returning to the local school district; funds being deposited into the account by mistake.

Appeals

Account holders may appeal the department’s decision to remove the account holder from the ESA program or freeze or withdraw funding by following the two-step appeals process in accordance with SBE Chapter 0520-01-16-.11. The steps are outlined below.

Step 1:

  • Submit the appeal to the Department of Education within 10 business days of receipt of the notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds. (Notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds will be provided electronically.)
  • The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee will review the appeal. A decision will be issued within 45 calendar days. (The account holder will be notified of the commissioner’s decision for the Step 1 appeal electronically.)
  • To file a Step 1 appeal, complete the Step 1 appeal form.

Step 2:

  • The account holder must file an appeal of the commissioner’s decision in Step 1 within 30 calendar days. This appeal must conform to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) (T.C.A. Title 4, Chapter 5).
  • To file a UAPA appeal, complete the UAPA form.
  • After the UAPA form has been submitted to the department, account holders will be notified by an administrative law judge, who will set the date and time of the school’s hearing.

Reapplying Each Year

Each year, participating students must reapply to participate in the ESA program through the FACTS Management online platform. The student must verify their address and income eligibility every year.

Voluntary Withdrawal

A participating student may voluntarily withdraw from the ESA program at any time by completing the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form.

If a student withdraws from the ESA program, or if the ESA is not renewed, the ESA will be closed, and remaining funds will be returned to the state treasurer.

Transferring Schools

A participating student may transfer from one Category I, II, or III private school to another Category I, II, or III private school.

The account holder must first phone department staff before the student transfers to ensure all school tuition payments are reconciled and up to date.

Return to Local District

A participating student can return to the local school district at any time if he or she is eligible to do so. At this point the ESA will be terminated.

Within five school days of withdrawal, the account holder must submit the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form and indicate that they will return to the local school district.

Legacy Students

If a participating student graduates high school or reaches the age of 22 and has money left in the ESA account, the student will become a Legacy Student.

A Legacy Student may use ESA funds to attend or take courses from an eligible postsecondary institution.

A Legacy Student’s ESA will be closed after the first of the following events:

  • The Legacy Student graduates from an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • Four back-to-back years elapse immediately after a Legacy Student enrolls in an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • The Legacy Student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution for 12 back-to-back months.

* “Account holder” means a parent or a student who has reached the age of 18 who signs the ESA agreement.

Each student in the ESA program will receive approximately $7,000 for the 2020-21 school year.

Funds in an ESA may only be used for educational purposes. This includes:

TN ESA Infographic

Obligations

Enrollment

Once an application has been approved, if the parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) intends on utilizing the ESA for tuition and other approved expenses, an eligible student must apply to and be accepted at a participating private school. Parents (or students who have reached the age of 18) must then upload their acceptance letter to their FACTS Management online platform to claim the ESA award.

Then, the parent must complete enrollment procedures set by the department. This includes signing an agreement to participate in the program and registering for the payment management system.

Signed Agreement

The parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) must sign an agreement to:

  • Provide an education for the participating student that meets the school attendance requirement in state law [T.C.A. 49-6-3001(c)(1)] through enrollment in a state board-approved Category I, II, or III private school.
  • Comply with the requirement that participating students in grades 3-11 participate in the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests for math and English language arts each year of enrollment in the program.
  • Not enroll the participating student in the Individualized Education Account (IEA) program during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA Program.
  • Release the local district and student’s zoned school from all responsibilities to educate the student during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA program. Participation in the program waives the student’s right to receive specially-designed instruction and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Participation in the program also makes the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) invalid, and the student will not be entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) from the public school district. The availability of disability-related service will be limited.
  • Follow the acceptable uses of ESA funds and the responsibilities of the parent of an eligible student (or eligible student who has reached the age of 18).

Financial Accountability

Account holders* must get pre-approval for tuition and fees, computer hardware or other technological devices, tutoring services, educational therapy services, summer education programs, and specialized after-school education programs. Pre-approvals will be managed in the payment management online platform.

The department will directly pay all tuition fees to the school. Private school tuition will be set aside before all other requests for reimbursement are processed if the account holder indicates the ESA will be used for tuition at a participating private school.

The ESA will be funded on August 15 and January 15 of each year. Participating schools will provide the parent a tuition and fees invoice for payment up to two weeks before the account is funded.

All other expenses will be paid to service providers within 10 business days of a parent submitting an invoice for payment, providing the service provider has registered for payment in the payment management system.

Unused Funds

Account holders are not required to spend the whole sum each year. Unused funds are transferred to the account holder’s balance for the following year, after the family has met all eligibility requirements.

Misspent Funds

If the department determines that an ESA account holder has misspent funds, the department may remove the account holder from eligibility for an ESA. Otherwise, the department may notify the account holder that they are responsible for repaying the misspent amount.

The department is authorized to freeze or withdraw funding directly from the student’s ESA for several reasons.

These reasons include: fraud; misuse of funds; failure to follow state laws, rules, procedures or the signed agreement; the student returning to the local school district; funds being deposited into the account by mistake.

Appeals

Account holders may appeal the department’s decision to remove the account holder from the ESA program or freeze or withdraw funding by following the two-step appeals process in accordance with SBE Chapter 0520-01-16-.11. The steps are outlined below.

Step 1:

  • Submit the appeal to the Department of Education within 10 business days of receipt of the notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds. (Notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds will be provided electronically.)
  • The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee will review the appeal. A decision will be issued within 45 calendar days. (The account holder will be notified of the commissioner’s decision for the Step 1 appeal electronically.)
  • To file a Step 1 appeal, complete the Step 1 appeal form.

Step 2:

  • The account holder must file an appeal of the commissioner’s decision in Step 1 within 30 calendar days. This appeal must conform to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) (T.C.A. Title 4, Chapter 5).
  • To file a UAPA appeal, complete the UAPA form.
  • After the UAPA form has been submitted to the department, account holders will be notified by an administrative law judge, who will set the date and time of the school’s hearing.

Reapplying Each Year

Each year, participating students must reapply to participate in the ESA program through the FACTS Management online platform. The student must verify their address and income eligibility every year.

Voluntary Withdrawal

A participating student may voluntarily withdraw from the ESA program at any time by completing the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form.

If a student withdraws from the ESA program, or if the ESA is not renewed, the ESA will be closed, and remaining funds will be returned to the state treasurer.

Transferring Schools

A participating student may transfer from one Category I, II, or III private school to another Category I, II, or III private school.

The account holder must first phone department staff before the student transfers to ensure all school tuition payments are reconciled and up to date.

Return to Local District

A participating student can return to the local school district at any time if he or she is eligible to do so. At this point the ESA will be terminated.

Within five school days of withdrawal, the account holder must submit the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form and indicate that they will return to the local school district.

Legacy Students

If a participating student graduates high school or reaches the age of 22 and has money left in the ESA account, the student will become a Legacy Student.

A Legacy Student may use ESA funds to attend or take courses from an eligible postsecondary institution.

A Legacy Student’s ESA will be closed after the first of the following events:

  • The Legacy Student graduates from an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • Four back-to-back years elapse immediately after a Legacy Student enrolls in an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • The Legacy Student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution for 12 back-to-back months.

* “Account holder” means a parent or a student who has reached the age of 18 who signs the ESA agreement.

Each student in the ESA program will receive approximately $7,000 for the 2020-21 school year.

Funds in an ESA may only be used for educational purposes. This includes:

TN ESA Infographic

Obligations

Enrollment

Once an application has been approved, if the parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) intends on utilizing the ESA for tuition and other approved expenses, an eligible student must apply to and be accepted at a participating private school. Parents (or students who have reached the age of 18) must then upload their acceptance letter to their FACTS Management online platform to claim the ESA award.

Then, the parent must complete enrollment procedures set by the department. This includes signing an agreement to participate in the program and registering for the payment management system.

Signed Agreement

The parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) must sign an agreement to:

  • Provide an education for the participating student that meets the school attendance requirement in state law [T.C.A. 49-6-3001(c)(1)] through enrollment in a state board-approved Category I, II, or III private school.
  • Comply with the requirement that participating students in grades 3-11 participate in the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests for math and English language arts each year of enrollment in the program.
  • Not enroll the participating student in the Individualized Education Account (IEA) program during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA Program.
  • Release the local district and student’s zoned school from all responsibilities to educate the student during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA program. Participation in the program waives the student’s right to receive specially-designed instruction and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Participation in the program also makes the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) invalid, and the student will not be entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) from the public school district. The availability of disability-related service will be limited.
  • Follow the acceptable uses of ESA funds and the responsibilities of the parent of an eligible student (or eligible student who has reached the age of 18).

Financial Accountability

Account holders* must get pre-approval for tuition and fees, computer hardware or other technological devices, tutoring services, educational therapy services, summer education programs, and specialized after-school education programs. Pre-approvals will be managed in the payment management online platform.

The department will directly pay all tuition fees to the school. Private school tuition will be set aside before all other requests for reimbursement are processed if the account holder indicates the ESA will be used for tuition at a participating private school.

The ESA will be funded on August 15 and January 15 of each year. Participating schools will provide the parent a tuition and fees invoice for payment up to two weeks before the account is funded.

All other expenses will be paid to service providers within 10 business days of a parent submitting an invoice for payment, providing the service provider has registered for payment in the payment management system.

Unused Funds

Account holders are not required to spend the whole sum each year. Unused funds are transferred to the account holder’s balance for the following year, after the family has met all eligibility requirements.

Misspent Funds

If the department determines that an ESA account holder has misspent funds, the department may remove the account holder from eligibility for an ESA. Otherwise, the department may notify the account holder that they are responsible for repaying the misspent amount.

The department is authorized to freeze or withdraw funding directly from the student’s ESA for several reasons.

These reasons include: fraud; misuse of funds; failure to follow state laws, rules, procedures or the signed agreement; the student returning to the local school district; funds being deposited into the account by mistake.

Appeals

Account holders may appeal the department’s decision to remove the account holder from the ESA program or freeze or withdraw funding by following the two-step appeals process in accordance with SBE Chapter 0520-01-16-.11. The steps are outlined below.

Step 1:

  • Submit the appeal to the Department of Education within 10 business days of receipt of the notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds. (Notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds will be provided electronically.)
  • The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee will review the appeal. A decision will be issued within 45 calendar days. (The account holder will be notified of the commissioner’s decision for the Step 1 appeal electronically.
  • To file a Step 1 appeal, complete the Step 1 appeal form.

Step 2:

  • The account holder must file an appeal of the commissioner’s decision in Step 1 within 30 calendar days. This appeal must conform to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) (T.C.A. Title 4, Chapter 5).
  • To file a UAPA appeal, complete the UAPA form.
  • After the UAPA form has been submitted to the department, account holders will be notified by an administrative law judge, who will set the date and time of the school’s hearing.

Reapplying Each Year

Each year, participating students must reapply to participate in the ESA program through the FACTS Management online platform. The student must verify their address and income eligibility every year.

Voluntary Withdrawal

A participating student may voluntarily withdraw from the ESA program at any time by completing the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form.

If a student withdraws from the ESA program, or if the ESA is not renewed, the ESA will be closed, and remaining funds will be returned to the state treasurer.

Transferring Schools

A participating student may transfer from one Category I, II, or III private school to another Category I, II, or III private school.

The account holder must first phone department staff before the student transfers to ensure all school tuition payments are reconciled and up to date.

Return to Local District

A participating student can return to the local school district at any time if he or she is eligible to do so. At this point the ESA will be terminated.

Within five school days of withdrawal, the account holder must submit the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form and indicate that they will return to the local school district.

Legacy Students

If a participating student graduates high school or reaches the age of 22 and has money left in the ESA account, the student will become a Legacy Student.

A Legacy Student may use ESA funds to attend or take courses from an eligible postsecondary institution.

A Legacy Student’s ESA will be closed after the first of the following events:

  • The Legacy Student graduates from an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • Four back-to-back years elapse immediately after a Legacy Student enrolls in an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • The Legacy Student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution for 12 back-to-back months.

* “Account holder” means a parent or a student who has reached the age of 18 who signs the ESA agreement.

Each student in the ESA program will receive approximately $7,000 for the 2020-21 school year.

Funds in an ESA may only be used for educational purposes. This includes:

TN ESA Infographic

Obligations

Enrollment

Once an application has been approved, if the parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) intends on utilizing the ESA for tuition and other approved expenses, an eligible student must apply to and be accepted at a participating private school. Parents (or students who have reached the age of 18) must then upload their acceptance letter to their FACTS Management online platform to claim the ESA award.

Then, the parent must complete enrollment procedures set by the department. This includes signing an agreement to participate in the program and registering for the payment management system.

Signed Agreement

The parent (or student who has reached the age of 18) must sign an agreement to:

  • Provide an education for the participating student that meets the school attendance requirement in state law [T.C.A. 49-6-3001(c)(1)] through enrollment in a state board-approved Category I, II, or III private school.
  • Comply with the requirement that participating students in grades 3-11 participate in the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests for math and English language arts each year of enrollment in the Program.
  • Not enroll the participating student in the Individualized Education Account (IEA) program during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA program.
  • Release the local district and student’s zoned school from all responsibilities to educate the student during the time the student is enrolled in the ESA program. Participation in the program waives the student’s right to receive specially-designed instruction and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Participation in the program also makes the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) invalid, and the student will not be entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) from the public school district. The availability of disability-related service will be limited.
  • Follow the acceptable uses of ESA funds and the responsibilities of the parent of an eligible student (or eligible student who has reached the age of 18).

Financial Accountability

Account holders* must get pre-approval for tuition and fees, computer hardware or other technological devices, tutoring services, educational therapy services, summer education programs, and specialized after-school education programs. Pre-approvals will be managed in the payment management online platform.

The department will directly pay all tuition fees to the school. Private school tuition will be set aside before all other requests for reimbursement are processed if the account holder indicates the ESA will be used for tuition at a participating private school.

The ESA will be funded on August 15 and January 15 of each year. Participating schools will provide the parent a tuition and fees invoice for payment up to two weeks before the account is funded.

All other expenses will be paid to service providers within 10 business days of a parent submitting an invoice for payment, providing the service provider has registered for payment in the payment management system.

Unused Funds

Account holders are not required to spend the whole sum each year. Unused funds are transferred to the account holder’s balance for the following year, after the family has met all eligibility requirements.

Misspent Funds

If the department determines that an ESA account holder has misspent funds, the department may remove the account holder from eligibility for an ESA. Otherwise, the department may notify the account holder that they are responsible for repaying the misspent amount.

The department is authorized to freeze or withdraw funding directly from the student’s ESA for several reasons.

These reasons include: fraud; misuse of funds; failure to follow state laws, rules, procedures or the signed agreement; the student returning to the local school district; funds being deposited into the account by mistake.

Appeals

Account holders may appeal the department’s decision to remove the account holder from the ESA Program or freeze or withdraw funding by following the two-step appeals process in accordance with SBE Chapter 0520-01-16-.11. The steps are outlined below.

Step 1:

  • Submit the appeal to the Department of Education within 10 business days of receipt of the notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds. (Notice of revoked eligibility or frozen/withdrawn ESA funds will be provided electronically.)
  • The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee will review the appeal. A decision will be issued within 45 calendar days. (The account holder will be notified of the commissioner’s decision for the Step 1 appeal electronically.)
  • To file a Step 1 appeal, complete the Step 1 appeal form.

Step 2:

  • The account holder must file an appeal of the commissioner’s decision in Step 1 within 30 calendar days. This appeal must conform to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) (T.C.A. Title 4, Chapter 5).
  • To file a UAPA appeal, complete the UAPA form.
  • After the UAPA form has been submitted to the department, account holders will be notified by an administrative law judge, who will set the date and time of the school’s hearing.

Reapplying Each Year

Each year, participating students must reapply to participate in the ESA program through the FACTS Management online platform. The student must verify their address and income eligibility every year.

Voluntary Withdrawal

A participating student may voluntarily withdraw from the ESA program at any time by completing the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form.

If a student withdraws from the ESA program, or if the ESA is not renewed, the ESA will be closed, and remaining funds will be returned to the state treasurer.

Transferring Schools

A participating student may transfer from one Category I, II, or III private school to another Category I, II, or III private school.

The account holder must first phone department staff before the student transfers to ensure all school tuition payments are reconciled and up to date.

Return to Local District

A participating student can return to the local school district at any time if he or she is eligible to do so. At this point the ESA will be terminated.

Within five school days of withdrawal, the account holder must submit the ESA Account Holder Voluntary Withdrawal Form and indicate that they will return to the local school district.

Legacy Students

If a participating student graduates high school or reaches the age of 22 and has money left in the ESA account, the student will become a Legacy Student.

A Legacy Student may use ESA funds to attend or take courses from an eligible postsecondary institution.

A Legacy Student’s ESA will be closed after the first of the following events:

  • The Legacy Student graduates from an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • Four back-to-back years elapse immediately after a Legacy Student enrolls in an eligible postsecondary institution.
  • The Legacy Student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution for 12 back-to-back months.

* “Account holder” means a parent or a student who has reached the age of 18 who signs the ESA agreement.