School Choice in


Many Arkansas students, families, schools, and communities have seen life-changing success because parents had the ability of school choice. Since starting our work in Arkansas in 2018, ACE Scholarships has provided approximately 5,879 scholarships through its 94 partner schools, totaling over $15 million worth of investments in K-12 students throughout the state! And we’re not stopping now.  

Arkansas offers two private school choice programs—a tax-credit scholarship program and an education freedom account (EFA)—as well as open enrollment, charter schools, magnet schools, and homeschooling.

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Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids (PIAK) Tax Credit Scholarship Program

The PIAK Tax Credit Scholarship Program allows nonprofit scholarship-granting organizations like ACE to raise money and help students statewide. At least 90% of every gift goes directly to student scholarships, making a real difference for children while earning the donor significant tax benefits.

Student Eligibility:

  • Families with incomes below 200% of federal poverty guidelines (~$55,000 for a family of four)
  • Students attending an Arkansas public school or starting school for the first time in the state
of each donation goes toward funding scholarships
in total income tax credits available per year
ACE partner schools participate statewide
scholarship cap for K-8
scholarship cap for high school

For questions or additional information, please contact:

Hannah Bunch Reber, Director of ACE Arkansas
(870) 917-4166

Education Freedom Account (EFA)

EFAs help eligible Arkansas families cover private school tuition, fees, uniforms, and other required expenses. Qualified expenses will expand for the 2024-25 school year from private school tuition and other related expenses to items and services accessed outside of the private school classroom, like tutoring, curriculum, courses, technology, and transportation. EFAs provide funding up to 90% of the state’s prior year per-student foundation funding amount, up to around $6,600 for the 2023-2024 school year.

Student Eligibility:

For the 2023-2024 school year, participating students must be eligible to enroll in public elementary or secondary school in Arkansas, have at least one parent who is a resident of Arkansas, and meet one of the following criteria:

  • First time kindergartener
  • Students who in the previous year were enrolled in an “F” rated school or “Level-5” district
  • Students who in the previous year were enrolled in the Succeed Scholarship Program
  • Students with a disability
  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • Current or former foster care students
  • Children of active-duty military personnel

How to Participate:

  • Apply for Education Freedom Account funds on the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website.
  • DESE considers applications on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis until August 1, 2023.
  • After August 1, 2023, DESE reviews applications pending funding availability and scholarship capacity.

For questions or additional information, please contact:

Office of School Choice and Parent Empowerment
Arkansas Department of Education

Darrell Smith, Assistant Commissioner