New bill would give education freedom accounts to all New Hampshire students

New bill would give education freedom accounts to all New Hampshire students

The program would respect New Hampshire families while giving every child access to a high-quality education.

Concord could finally deliver on New Hampshire’s promise of equal access to a great education for every child in the state.

Introduced Jan. 13, House Bill 20 would establish education freedom accounts, or EFAs, for all New Hampshire students. The state would deposit grant money directly into EFAs controlled by students’ parents – money they could then use on a wide variety of education expenses for their children.

EFAs already enjoy support from parents like Shalimar Encarnacion, a Manchester mom.

Encarnacion’s son is on the autism spectrum and struggled throughout middle school. With help from the Children’s Scholarship Fund, Encarnacion was able to enroll him at a local private school, which offered the individualized attention he needed.

“I’ve seen firsthand how many of our communities don’t have equal access to educational resources and the same opportunities,” Encarnacion said.

“This is about leveling the playing field and making the best education accessible to everyone.”

With an EFA, Encarnacion and parents like her would have direct control of the dollars tied to their child’s education.

Under the program, each parent would receive a minimum of $3,786 per student per year. That grant could total up to nearly $8,300 if the student is eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch, is a special education student who has an individualized education plan, or has other special needs.

That money can then be used to pay for a wide variety of education expenses both inside and outside the classroom, including tutoring, additional online education programs, tuition at a school of their choice, computer hardware and more.

Gov. Chris Sununu spoke out in support of EFAs ahead of the 2021 legislative session. 

“You can sum all this up with: It’s got to be about outcomes for the kids, not outcomes for the system,” he said during a December forum sponsored by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

“We have to stop worrying about the system as much as the kid.”

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