ETC & the Arkansas LEARNS Bill - Educational Freedom Accounts

What is the LEARNS bill?

The LEARNS bill is legislation that has established and Education Freedom Account program to fund a school choice initiative that allows parents chose and pay for private school or homeschool services.


Can any Arkansas student receive EFA funding?

No. In 2024/2025 children must meet one of the following criteria to qualify for an Education Freedom Account:

  • 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, military reservist, or US military veterans.
  • 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.


Will I be able to pay for ETC classes and activities with my Education Freedom Account funds?

Yes. ETC submitted an application with the Office of School Choice and Parent Empowerment to be a "Part-Time Student-Facing Service Providers" eligible to receive Educational Freedom Account funds. As an enduring, educational non-profit with more than 20 years’ experience providing support and services to home educating families in the NWA area, ETC has been given tentative approval to be confirmed by June 1.


How much will each student receive?

For the 2024-25 school year, each student will be eligibel for approximately $6,856.


How will EFAs work?

  1. do not need to select ETC as your "service provider", the way you would a school. You will receive an invoice from ETC for the tuition and fees for your child's enrollment for the next academic year (2024/2025). You, as a parent of an approved child, will submit that invoice through the payment portal (Student First Technology which will replace ClassWallet). The payment for ETC services will be sent directly to ETC.


What else will the state require in order for my students to remain eligible to receive EFA funds?

As taxpayers we should expect and appreciate some level of accountability for the use of state funds. Homeschooling families must still fill out the Notice of Intent to Homeschool for the 2024/2025 school year after June 1, 2024. To date, standardized testing is the only additional requirement that the ADE has announced (exemptions available for qualifying students). This is the same requirement for private school students.


If my student doesn't qualify for EFA funds this year, how likely is it that they will qualify next year?

Very. The Arkansas Department of Education has already announced their plan to make funding universal beginning in the fall of 2025, meaning every student will be eligible.


Do I have to use EFA funds to pay for ETC classes?

Absolutely not! Some homeschooling families may want to see how the LEARNS opportunities play out over the next couple of years, and that is perfectly fine, and understandable. You may still pay ETC tuition and fees as we have always done, by cash, check, or online payment directly to ETC. There are still many options for members to serve by teaching, assisting, facilitating, or monitoring during class hours to earn funds that may be used toward your tuition bill.


Will ETC tuition and fees take all of my child’s EFA funds?

No! A student attending 3 full days of Consortium should still have over $1200 in funds remaining to use for other educational expenses like curriculum and technology. Paid service to ETC (such as teaching or assisting) can give parents even more to use toward learning expenses. View the ETC Tuition and Fees schedule for the 2024/2025 school year.


This all sounds great! So, in the meantime, what do I need to do?

If your child meets one of the above criteria you should submit your application.

Enroll your child in ETC Consortium Classes


How will ETC change when it starts accepting EFA funds?

The ETC Leadership does not expect the student and family's experience at ETC to look any differently than it has for a number of years. We are always trying to improve our program, but any anticipated changes are independent of LEARNS funds.