Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Information
**Please know that this program is new for the 2022-2023 school year and is frequently evolving. This page is be regularly updated with new information as we learn it**
Web site is: https://www.azed.gov/esa .
You can also call the ESA support line at 602-364-1969 or submit a HelpDesk ticket.
ESA H.B. 2853 FAQ – https://www.azed.gov/sites/default/files/2022/10/H.B.%202853%20FAQ%20-%20UPDATED.pdf
ESA Parent Handbook – https://www.azed.gov/esa/parent-handbook
The ESA contract is between the AZ Department of Education and your family. The school does not have any access to, or are given, any data. Our only involvement is receiving the payments you send to us and applying them to your child’s 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. If you need to make any changes to your ESA contract you need to reach out to them 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 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 questions to your STO. As we work through and navigate these first few quarters, especially as we are constantly receiving new information which could change our processes, we appreciate your patience and understanding. As this is a new program for this 22-23 school year, please know that for the 23-24 school year we will be evaluating the tuition payment process to better accommodate families that will be using ESA funding
ESA payments to the school
Families can send payments to the school through their ESA ClassWallet account. In ClassWallet our school is listed as a vendor. (To find our school start typing St. then we should be in the drop down). ESA payments to the school do not automatically happen, you must login to your ESA ClassWallet account each quarter and request funds are sent to our school, reimbursed directly to your family, etc., depending on how you are utilizing the ESA funding. (FYI from the ESA website, you will have access to ClassWallet when the account is funded and will receive an email directly from ClassWallet when funds are available for use.)
If you request funds to be sent to our school from your ESA ClassWallet account, once they approve your request, it takes approximately 3-11 business days for our school to receive those funds from ClassWallet. Please note, ClassWallet has a 2.5% processing fee. 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. Invoices, payment documentation, etc. can be accessed in your Facts Financial account and scanned/screen shot and uploaded to your ESA ClassWallet account.
How are ESA funds applied to my Facts account? Once we receive the ESA payment, we will apply it to the next payments due, thereby taking away/reducing your next payments. (For families that have scholarships that need to be refunded back to an STO, see the “Families using STO’s” section as the process will be different.) Please make sure you are not sending us more than your “tuition balance” owed, as any overpayment will be sent back to ESA. We will not be placing tuition payments on hold, as families can request reimbursement through their ESA ClassWallet account.
Families using STO’s (ie. CEA, IBE, APESF, etc.)
From the AZ Department of Education website, document “H.B. 2853 Frequently Asked Questions”:
A: Pursuant to A.R.S.15-2402(B)(3), you can’t participate in the ESA and STO programs for the same time period. This means that once there is a signed contract, any STO scholarship dollars for the timeframe covered by ESA funds must be returned to the STO. Thus, if you receive Q1 STO funds, you cannot receive ESA funds for Q1.
We encourage you to contact the STO(s) you are currently using and ESA with any questions, before signing the ESA contract, to determine the best option for your family, as depending on your situation, (if you are already fully funded by STO funds, or the types of STO scholarships you have received, how much ESA funding you are awarded, etc.), you may want to stay with STO funds for this school year and apply to ESA next school year, or if partially funded by STO’s, apply to ESA in a later quarter. (Tuition divided by 4 would be the quarterly tuition amount.) So, make sure you are really looking at what the better situation is for your family.
STO refunds – If scholarship funds need to be sent back to an STO, we will send the funds back as we receive the ESA funds from the family through ClassWallet. The School (not the family) needs to reimburse the scholarships back to the STO. So, again, make sure you are sending the ESA funding to the school first to offset the scholarships we will need to send back to the STO. Depending on the amount of the scholarship funds your student has received the scholarship may be refunded to the STO over a couple of quarters. Make sure you are in communication with the school and your STO, as we will need to work through this process together.
If you have received STO funding and made payments towards tuition and will be requesting reimbursement of those tuition payments through your ESA ClassWallet account, you will need to send the school enough ESA funds first, so we can send the scholarship funds back to the STO, before you request reimbursement through ESA ClassWallet for tuition you have paid out of pocket. This could take a few quarters depending on the amount of the scholarship the student received.
Families need to let the school and the STO know they applied for ESA funding.
To see the STO scholarships your student has received to date for the 2022-2023 school year, in your Facts Financial Account click on view details then go to the transactions tab, select the student, account (tuition) and a date range (we would suggest June 1, 2022- today’s date, as most of the STO started 2022-2023 scholarship disbursements in June.)
What do ESA funds cover?
In addition to tuition, ESA funds can also be used for athletic fees, registration fees, and technology fees. ESA funds can NOT be used for items such as extended day fees, enrichment course fees, or lunch fees. Please refer to the ESA Parent Handbook on their website to see all of the areas that ESA funds can and can’t cover.
We have been notified by the AZ Department of Education ESA that families are able to request reimbursement for tuition/qualifying expenses they have personally paid to the school, directly through their ESA ClassWallet account.
Therefore, the school will not be refunding tuition/qualifying expenses families have already personally paid for the 2022-2023 school year, as families can request reimbursement directly through their ESA ClassWallet account.
*The only exception is for STO funds that the school needs to send back. (see the Families using STO’s section)*
From an ESA email we received: The parent needs to go through the reimbursement process through ClassWallet. Of course, this would only be for tuition paid privately (and not through STO scholarships).
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 email@example.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.
See below on where to get the invoice in your Facts Financial account.
For families that have paid tuition in full (not through STO funding), you will not be sending any funds to the school during the school year, you will work with ESA ClassWallet throughout the year to have the quarterly funding reimbursed to you directly.
Facts Financial invoices/documentation
Families can obtain the documentation/invoices they need to upload to ClassWallet as proof of payments made, tuition due, etc. through their Facts Financial Account.
To log in go to:
factsmgt.com , Family login, 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
DirectPay to Vendor (St. John XXIII Catholic School): for funds you want to send directly to the school. You need to show proof that you still owe those expenses to the school. Please note there is a 2.5% ClassWallet processing fee for DirectPay. Following are some examples of documentation families have been using.
-Under the “balances” tab you can screen shot and upload your remaining balances. Expanding the balances will show the students name, our school’s name is at the very top, etc. (Please note for families we are working with to send back STO funds, this does show STO funds received, so until we get the STO scholarship removed/sent back, other documentation may be better.)
-Under the “payments” tab you can screen shot and upload your payment schedule. Expanding the payments will show the students name, our school’s name is at the very top, etc.
– The original email that was sent to you from Facts Financial when your 2022-2023 school year Facts Financial account was set up, as this shows the payments schedule, amounts, student name, school name, etc. (For most of our families this email was sent on March 3, 2022 when we set up our returning students Facts Financial account for the 2022-2023 school year.)
-Screen shot or print and upload the 2022-2023 tuition charge and schedule detail located under the “Transactions” tab.
From here you can select a school term, transaction date/date range, the student’s name, and the specific account (such as Tuition). Example, if you are a returning family, first select the “Term” 2022-2023 school year, we added the 2022-2023 tuition charge on March 3, 2022, so put in that date for the start and end date click view, select the student and tuition. If you then press Control P to print the screen you will see that our schools name and tax ID # are at the top followed by the student, tuition etc. You can then select You can print and then upload, or screen shot and upload this to ClassWallet.
Then also print out the schedule detail, under “transaction type” click on the Charge-20022-2023 tuition (in blue), this will open and show the actual tuition schedule.
Reimbursement documentation: for direct reimbursement to yourself for expenses you have already paid. You need to show proof of the payment(s). Reimbursements do not have the 2.5% ClassWallet processing fee. Following is some documentation our families have been using. *
-Click on “View Details”
-Click on “View Payment Summary” in the blue box
-Select a “date range”
It will show you payments made by school year, name, and account. It also includes our school’s name, address and Tax ID #. You can print/screen shot and upload.
Payments Made tab
-Click on “View Details”
– Under ‘Term” click on the 2022-2023 school year
– Go to the “Payments Made” tab
-Under the bold “Payments Made”, select a date range (we suggest using the same date range you use for the Payment Summary invoice.
– you can now “expand all” and you will see all the payments by student, account, date, etc.
-you can press Control P to print the screen and you will see our school’s name at the top.
Payment Detail: We have had people say that ESA/ClassWallet is looking for even further detail. So, under the “payments made” tab you can click on the specific “Payment” in blue and it will expand that payment further, showing more detail, such as bank name, type, etc. If you do a screen shot, you will be able to see our school’s name at the top. This way you have the specific payment detail to go with the Payment Summary. Keep in mind you can select a date range in the “payments made” tab.
*From what we are hearing from families regarding reimbursements, with the Payment Summary or Payments Made document, we would suggest also including the Payment Detail for each payment you are requesting for reimbursement.
A Message from the Diocese of Phoenix Regarding ESA and STOs
NOTICE REGARDING TUITION FUNDING PROGRAMS
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.