Education Freedom Account participation up 20% with more than 4,200+ students enrolled

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CONCORD, NH — During its third year of implementation, more than 4,200 students from economically disadvantaged homes throughout New Hampshire are now enrolled in Education Freedom Accounts.

Education Freedom Account enrollment jumped from 3,342 at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year to 4,211 at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, which represents an increase of about 20 percent, or 869 students.

“It has been three years since the launch of New Hampshire’s successful Education Freedom Account program, and it is apparent that New Hampshire families are taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity that provides them with different options and significant flexibility for learning,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “With three years of data under our belt, we know that students are coming and going from the program, which is exactly how it was designed – to allow various options for personal learning needs that may fluctuate from year-to-year based on whatever path is appropriate in the moment.”

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Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education Frank Edelblut. File Photo/Carol Robidoux

Education Freedom Accounts allow eligible New Hampshire students to direct state-funded per-pupil education grants toward select educational programming of their choice for a variety of learning experiences. There are currently 4,211 children enrolled in the EFA program that is offering grants totaling more than $22 million this school year, or an average of $5,255 per student. The cost to taxpayers would be about $95.6 million if the 4,211 EFA students, who are all eligible, attended a traditional public school. It is important to note that the EFA program consumes less than one percent of the total statewide and local education spending.

“Thanks to New Hampshire’s Education Freedom Accounts, we had a choice to do what was best and right for our children. Thank you to the New Hampshire legislature, the governor, the staff overseeing New Hampshire’s EFAs and the New Hampshire Department of Education for affording lower-income families, immigrants and military families such as ours, the option to do what is best for our children when, as in our case, the public school option failed to meet even basic standards of education,” said Robert Cook, whose two children are enrolled in the EFA program.

Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law an expansion of the EFA program, which now allows families earning up to 350 percent of the federal poverty level – up from 300 percent previously – to participate in the program.

“On behalf of Robert and the EFA parents and guardians of the more than 4,200 children unbundling their education through the EFA program this fall, we extend our gratitude to the team at NHED and to New Hampshire, as a whole, for continuing to be innovative and student-centric in education,” said Kate Baker Demers, executive director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire, which oversees the EFA program. “Thank you for trusting us, New Hampshire parents, and for increasing access to the EFAs so more of our children get the education and learning experiences they absolutely need to thrive.”

The 2024 EFA Fact Sheet, which includes significant program data, is available here.


 

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