To the editor:
Education Freedom Accounts, included in the state budget, could soon be a reality in New Hampshire, giving families more educational options for their children.
An Education Freedom Account (EFA) is a government-approved savings account to be used for authorized educational expenses only. Parents who earn below 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($79,500 for a family of four) could apply.
If approved, a family would have its state per-pupil education grant deposited into the EFA instead of sent to the district school. According to state Department of Education, the grant would average about $4,600 per student in the 2021-22 school year. Families could then use these funds to pay for a variety of educational expenses, including tuition, tutoring, special education services, textbooks, and more.
EFAs would not be the first educational choice program in New Hampshire. The state already has an education tax credit (ETC) scholarship for low-to-middle income families. Charter schools are independent public schools that exist in some communities. And towns have long been allowed to tuition students to other schools.
Yet many Granite State students need other options. The Children’s Scholarship Fund-N.H. manages a tax credit scholarship program that helped 626 students in the 2020-2021 school year, but about 800 students were left on a wait list.
Families of greater means already have access to educational choice. They can choose private schools or move to another district. Education Freedom Accounts would offer lower-income families the ability to get the best education for their children, too.