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Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Information

ESA information

From the AZ Department of Education (ADE) ESA FAQ’s:

What is an ESA?  An Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) is an account administered by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and funded by state tax dollars to provide education options for qualified Arizona students.

An ESA consists of 90% of the state funding that would have otherwise been allocated to the school district or charter school for the qualified student (does not include federal or local funding). By accepting an ESA, the student’s parent or guardian is signing a contract agreeing to provide an education that includes at least the following subjects: reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science.  ESA funding can be used to pay private school tuition, for curriculum, home education, tutoring and more….. Students on ESA cannot be enrolled in a public school (this includes district, charter, and public online programs).  This is a violation of the ESA contract.

Are there application deadlines?  ESA accepts applications online year-round, and the scholarship amount awarded is divided into four quarterly disbursements.

Q1:  July 1 – September 30

Q2:  October 1 – December 31

Q3:  January 1 – March 31

Q4:  April 1 – June 30

The funding received is based on the quarter that the contract is signed.  For example, if you sign a contract at any point from July 1 – September 30, you’ll receive Q1 funding.  If you sign the contract from October 1 – December 31, you’ll receive Q2 funding, etc. 

From the ESA website, updated FAQ related to H.B. 2853 sheet:

Q5: How much money will my student receive? A: The amount varies based on several factors, but approximately $6,500 for grades 1-12. Kindergarten students receive approximately $4,000. Students who have a current IEP/MET/504 are eligible to receive additional funding based on their IEP/MET category of eligibility.

To apply for an ESA, go to:  https://www.azed.gov/esa/eligibility-requirements

Please note that when applying for ESA under the “Universal” category, you will need to provide the following:

  1. Student’s Birth Certificate
  2. Proof of Residency Document in the Applicant’s Name (parent/guardian applying)

The ESA contract is between the AZ Department of Education and your family.  The school does not have any access to ESA’s data, your ESA or ClassWallet account.  Our only involvement is receiving the payments you may send to us and applying them to your child’s tuition balance in FACTS.   We strongly encourage you to go to the Arizona Department of Education ESA website and read the Parent Handbook, FAQ’s, etc. so you understand the rules, laws, and regulations regarding the ESA program. If you have questions, you will need to talk to ESA directly.  Please note, you will need to sign a new contract with ESA each school year. 

Families are responsible, not the school, for ensuring that they are following the rules, regulations, and laws regarding their ESA accounts. Please see the note from the Diocese of Phoenix at the end of this page.

Please feel free to reach out to our business office with any questions but do keep in mind that for many ESA questions (example, about ClassWallet, applying, funding, etc.) we may need to direct you to ESA, or for STO (i.e., CEA, IBE, APESF, ATC, etc.) questions to your STO.

Families that use STO’s (ie. CEA, IBE, APESF, ATC, etc.), note the following:

From the Arizona Department of Education to ESA Account holders on May 5, 2023:

For those of you who will choose a private school please note that beginning July 1, 2023, you will need to choose between an ESA or an STO (tax credit scholarship). You will not be able to use both in the same contract year (July 1 to June 30). If you have any questions, please contact the ESA office at 602-364-1969.

From page 55 of the ESA 2023-2024 Parent Handbook:

Receiving an STO or Tax Credit Scholarship

Pursuant to A.R.S.§15-2402(B)(3), the Account Holder agrees not to receive any STOs or tax credit scholarships in the same contract year as an ESA.

  • If you have received STO scholarships (ie. CEA, IBE, APESF, ATC, etc.), for the school year and have signed an ESA contract at any time within the same school year or used ESA funds to pay towards the school year, you need to work with the school to send the scholarships back to the STO. Our school needs to send the scholarship back.  We will need a payment to offset the return of the STO scholarships.  Please reach out to the Business Office to discuss this.

Using ESA funds for tuition

To use ESA funds to pay tuition you have 2 options, families can either do a “Direct Payment to Vendor” (our school is a Vendor) through their ClassWallet account or utilize the ESA/Class Wallet reimbursement option.  Note that for a Direct Payment to a Vendor, there is a 2.5% processing fee.  There is no processing fee for reimbursements.

  1. Reimbursement Option: A family can request through their ESA/ClassWallet account direct reimbursement for qualifying expenses they have personally paid to the school. If you plan to use this option, we suggest reaching out to our Business Office to make sure your Facts tuition schedule is set up on the 10-month (July-April) tuition schedule, so your payments fall into the ESA year.  You cannot be reimbursed for any expenses you paid, such as tuition, before you sign the ESA contract.  From the ESA website “ClassWallet Information”: The reimbursement option is located on the ClassWallet portal homepage. You will need to link a bank account.  If you need assistance getting started with the reimbursement option, please contact ClassWallet at help@classwallet.com or by phone at 1-877-969-5536. Please provide both a detailed invoice, proof of payment, and a valid credential for each reimbursement request.  Documentation needed for reimbursement can be found in your Facts Financial Account, see the documentation section below.

  2. ESA/ClassWallet tuition payments to our school (Direct Pay to Vendor): Families can opt to have payments made directly to the school, for qualifying ESA expenses such as tuition, using the Direct Pay to Vendor option in their ESA ClassWallet account. To find our school in the ClassWallet vendor list, start typing St. and we will be in the drop down. Please keep the following in mind when sending ESA funds to our school:

–  ESA payments/reimbursements do not automatically happen, you must login to your ESA ClassWallet account when you receive a disbursement you want to use and request funds are sent to our school, reimbursed directly to you, etc., depending on how you are utilizing the ESA funding.

– Once they “approve” your request (which can take from days to weeks), it takes approximately an additional 2-10 business days for our school to receive those funds from ClassWallet.

If our school receives ESA funds for tuition for a student through ClassWallet, we will apply it in Facts to the first eligible tuition payment for that school year, thereby taking away/reducing your next tuition payment(s).  

Tuition Payments are not being put on hold/adjusted due to ESA funds.   However, we can adjust your tuition payment schedule to the 10-month payment plan (July-April), as the ESA year begins in July.   Please reach out to Laura Bentzin in our Business Office to request this change.

The school will not refund, back to the family, any tuition/qualifying expenses families have personally paid for the school year due to the student having an ESA or pending ESA funds.  Families can request reimbursement for qualifying ESA expenses, through their ESA ClassWallet account.  Therefore, if a family’s tuition payment is due and paid before we receive the ESA funds that a family has sent to our school, the family will need to utilize the ESA ClassWallet reimbursement option, to be reimbursed for that payment, as we will not put tuition payments on hold or refund payments made back to families.

ESA overpayments will be sent back to ESA/ClassWallet.  If we cannot apply the full amount sent to us, it will be returned to ESA/ClassWallet.  We cannot hold the funds for future use or apply them to a different student.  Therefore, if you are sending funds to our school for tuition, please make sure you are not sending over more than the remaining tuition amount due for the school year.  This can be found in your Facts account under the “Balances” tab.  You can also call the business office if you want to verify the remaining amount due for the school year.  Keep in mind the time it will take for us to receive the funds. 

– Any questions about your ClassWallet account will need to be directed to ESA or ClassWallet.  The school has no access to or involvement with your ClassWallet account. 

-Documentation needed for ESA/ClassWallet for a direct payment to our school can be found in your Facts Financial Account.  See below.

Facts Financial Documentation

Families can obtain the documentation they need to upload to ClassWallet as proof of payments made, tuition due, etc. through their Facts Payment Plan/Financial Account.  

To log in to your Facts Payment Plan/Financial portal:

– go to: factsmgt.com

– Family Log In (located at the top)

– Click on Payment Plans/Financial Aid

– sign in. (If you have forgotten your username/password, you need to click on “Forgot username/password” and follow it through.  If you still are unable to log in, you will need to contact Facts at 1-866-441-4637.  

Just a note regarding Facts documentation… we have heard from families that ESA would appreciate it if families would highlight the pertinent information (such as: School name, student name, date or school year, account name (e.g., tuition) and the amount, banking info (for reimbursement, etc.), before uploading the documentation, to assist them with their approval process.  

Facts Documentation for “Pay Vendor” (sending the funds to St. John XXIII Catholic School):  

For ESA funds you want to send directly to the school, you need to show proof that you owe those funds for the student to the school.  Please note there is a 2.5% ClassWallet processing fee for Direct Pay to a Vendor.  The following are 2 types of documentation families have been telling us they are using.  You just need to use one, not both.


– Log in to your Facts Payment Plan/Financial portal (see above)

– Click on “View Details.”

– Under “Term” (towards the top right side), in the drop down select the correct school year.

– Click on the “Balances” tab

– Click on the down arow next to the student’s name

– Right click on your mouse to print the document.  You see it will open a document that will have our school’s name at the top, the students’ name, school year, account, amount due, etc.



– Log in to your Facts Payment Plan/Financial portal (see above)

– Click on “View Details.”

– Under “Term” (towards the top right side), in the drop down select the correct school year.

– Click on the “Schedule” tab

– Click on “Expand All.”

– Right click on your mouse to print the document.  You see it will open a document that will have our school’s name at the top, the scheduled payments, which include the students’ name, date, account, amount due, etc.

Facts Documentation for “Reimbursement”:

For direct reimbursement to yourself for qualifying expenses you have already paid to our school, you need to show proof of the payment(s) made to our school.  Reimbursements do not have the 2.5% ClassWallet processing fee.  The following is the documentation families have been telling us they are using for reimbursement.  You need to upload both, as there is not one Facts document that contains all the information ESA wants for reimbursement. If you upload only one, it will most likely be returned.  Therefore, you will have at least 2 pages or more depending on how many payments you are looking to be reimbursed for.  Also, just another FYI, some families are telling us they are also including their bank statements to also show the payments.


– Log in to your Facts Payment Plan/Financial portal (see above)

– Click on “View Details.”

– Click on “View Payment Summary” in the blue box.

– In the box that has a year, instead select “date range” and enter the date range. (You should put the month(s) you are requesting reimbursement for.  For example, if you are requesting reimbursement for October and November tuition payments, you would put October 1 as the start date and Nov. 30 as the end date.)

– Click “View”

– Click on “Print” at the top right, or right click on your mouse to print the document.  This document will show you the summary of payments made by school year, student name, and account.  It also includes our school’s name, address, and Tax ID #. 

This is the first document needed.

 AND SECOND (make sure you are back on the Activity Details page)

– Click on the “Payments Made” tab

– If needed change the date range in the box that says, “Past 90 days”, to a range where you can see the payment(s) needed.

– Find the payment (For example, if your October payment was on Oct. 20, find that payment date)

– Once you have found the payment, click on the word “Payment” in blue.  This will open and show all the detailed Payment Information.  ESA requires this information for any payment you are requesting reimbursement for.

– Right click on your mouse to print the document. This is the second document needed.

Then, if applicable, find the next payment you need the details for and do the same. 

So, for example, if you were requesting reimbursement for the October and November tuition payments you made:

Page 1 would be the “Payment Summary” with a date range of Oct. 1-Nov. 30

Page 2 would be the detailed Payment Information for the October payment.

Page 3 would be the detailed Payment Information for the November payment. 

You would be uploading 3 pages.



A Message from the Diocese of Phoenix Regarding ESA and STOs


The State of Arizona provides several options to assist families in paying for your child’s Catholic education, including the Empower Scholarship Account (ESA) Program and through State Tuition Organization (STO) tax credit funds. These programs are offered through the State and/or through the individual STO, and are not managed by the School.

Therefore, you are responsible for compliance with all terms, conditions to eligibility, and legal requirements related to any programs in which you participate. Please note in particular that pursuant to state law, if you choose to utilize an Empower Scholarship Account, you may not utilize STO funds (or vice versa). The School is not responsible for ensuring your compliance with this or any other term, condition, law or requirement relating to tuition assistance programs.

Furthermore, please be aware that payment of your child’s tuition is your responsibility, whether or not you choose to participate in ESA, STO, or any other programs or options to assist your family.  These programs may not cover 100% of the cost of tuition and fees, and therefore any outstanding portion will remain your responsibility.