Applicant FAQ’s

  1. What grade/age does my student need to be to receive a scholarship?

    IBE can scholarship students, grades K-12 and disabled preschoolers who are at least 3 years of age with an Arizona public school IEP or MET. Kindergarten students must be 5 by December 31st in order to receive scholarships.

  2. How do I receive a scholarship?

    To be considered for a scholarship all families must first complete an annual application. Please take a few moments to register online at, after which you may complete the application.

  3. What type of scholarships are available?

    IBE offers multiple types of scholarships.

    To review eligibility criteria for each of these programs, please visit our page here.

    o    Original Individual

    1. Financial Aid Awards
    2. Recommended Fund Awards

    o    PLUS/Switcher

    1. Financial Aid Awards
    2. Recommended Fund Awards

    o    Corporate Low Income

    o    Corporate Disabled/Displaced

  4. How often do I need to complete an application?

    Once every school year.

  5. When are the applications due?

    Applications are typically released February 1st for the following school year.  Applications may be completed at any time throughout the school year.  However,  your child will not considered for financial aid, nor can Recommended Funds be released until an application is complete.  The scholarship portal opens the 1st of each July-May to assess for aid and offer Recommended Funds.

  6. Is there a cost for applying?


  7. Does IBE require any supporting documentation with my application?

    Yes, applications require financial & eligibility supporting documentation. All documentation requirements will be listed within the application.

  8. What qualifies me for financial aid?

    There is no set criteria for qualifying a family for financial aid; however, when reviewing applications for financial aid our scholarship committee considers the following:

    • Income of the family
    • Cost of tuition at the private school attending
    • Number of children attending private school
    • Letter of extenuating circumstances/hardships
  9. Are there any scholarships other than those for financial aid?

    IBE has a “Recommended Fund” program where applicant families may solicit friends and family members to donate through IBE and recommend their child as the recipient of their donation. Donors may give under the Original Individual program and PLUS/Switcher program to those who meet the eligibility criteria. Donors may contribute the following:

    Original Individual PLUS
    2024 single filers maximum donation: $731
    2024 married filing joint maximum donation: $1,459
    2024 single filers maximum donation: $728
    2024 married filing joint maximum donation: $1,451

    By law, you may only donate to PLUS/Switcher once you have fulfilled your Original Individual donation for that tax year.

    While IBE is required by law to consider factors other than the recommendation of the donor, IBE does its best to honor the wishes of the donor.

    * Notice: A.RS. 43-1603: A school tuition organization cannot award, restrict or reserve scholarships bases solely on a donor’s recommendation. A taxpayer may not claim a tax credit if the taxpayer agrees to swap donations with another taxpayer to benefit either taxpayers own dependent.

  10. If a friend or family member donates, how much of the donation might my child receive?

    IBE awards 92% of all donations as scholarships. If a donation is made under the PLUS/Switcher program, that child must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible to receive that donation:

    • Entering kindergarten
    • Received a previous Low-Income Corporate, “PLUS”/Switcher or Corporate Displaced/Disabled scholarship in a previous academic year and continued to attend a qualified private school/li>
    • Transferring from:
      • An Arizona public or charter school with at least 90 days of attendance in the previous academic year or one full semester in the same year; or
      • Transferring from an Arizona homeschool program; or
      • Transferring from the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program in the previous academic semester; or
      • A public, private or homeschool program from out of state or out of country.
    • Disabled preschooler enrolled in a qualified disabled preschool
    • Dependent of active duty military stationed in Arizona on orders
  11. Can I donate to my own child?

    Unfortunately, no. Donors may not recommend their own dependent as a recipient.

  12. How does IBE account for the 8% retained?

    IBE must pay for all operational and administrative expenses out the 8%. These expenses include, but are not limited to:

    o    Credit card fees

    o    Banking services

    o    Marketing materials(brochures, donation envelopes, etc.)

    o    Database management

    o    Office building, utilities, supplies, etc.

    o    Salaries and benefits

    o    IBE continuously looks for opportunities to award additional scholarships out of our administrative expenses

  13. Is there any limit to the amount of scholarships I can receive?

    Students are only limited in that their scholarships cannot exceed their annual tuition.  If additional Recommended Fund Scholarships are received, they will be awarded as multi-year scholarships and can be utilized the following academic year.  All families should apply for all scholarship programs they are eligible for. Families have the possibility to be awarded through multiple programs for the same school year. In addition, families should apply to other School Tuition Organizations (STO’s) for additional financial assistance, if needed. Families may use Recommended Funds to bridge any gaps left after financial aid scholarships are awarded.

  14.  What happens if my child leaves private schooling?

    Your school is required to refund IBE a prorated amount of funds. Those funds are then used to scholarship a child in need. Please call our office to inform us if you choose to withdraw from private school.  Upon withdrawal from private schooling, a child’s PLUS/Switcher and Corporate Low-Income eligibility is lost.

  15. What happens if my child switches to a different private school?

    Any Recommended Funds may follow your child to the new school; however, financial aid scholarships will be remain with the original school. Please call our office to inform us if you choose to switch to a different private school.

  16. Are multi-year scholarships awarded?

    In the event that you are able to solicit more Recommended Funds than is needed for the current school year, those funds will be awarded as a multi-year scholarship and will remain with the student for the following school year. Financial aid scholarships are awarded each school year. In the event that your child does not need the full amount awarded, the excess financial aid scholarship will be returned to IBE for re-award to another student in need.

  17. How often are scholarships disbursed?

    Payments for Recommended Funds are offered to the school between the 1st and 15th of each month except for June, provided a family’s application is up-to-date. Any donations received, regardless of donation date, will be offered during our monthly payment cycle for the current school year. The school will accept any and all funds available up to a student’s annual tuition obligation. Financial aid payments are sent at the beginning of the school year, or shortly after the scholarship is awarded (for any late awards given).

  18. What are IBE scholarships eligible to be used for?

    IBE scholarships can pay for tuition costs only.

  19. Can IBE pay for tuition from a prior school year?

    No. Per Arizona state law, IBE is unable to pay for a prior school year’s tuition.

  20. Is IBE audited?

    Yes. The law requires IBE to have an annual independent audit completed and the IBE Board of Trustees has required this audit even before it was part of the law.  Transparency is paramount to IBE.

  21. 2022-2023 fiscal year scholarships awarded by demographics

    185% of federal reduced lunch program guidelines

    Original Scholarships PLUS Scholarships Corporate Scholarships Disabled/Displaced Scholarships
    Dollars Awarded $1,146,697.29 $894,841.60 $1,108,052.77 $48,187.19
    Percentage Awarded 9% 10% 45% 17%

    186% – 342% of federal reduced lunch program guidelines

    Original Scholarships PLUS Scholarships Corporate Scholarships Disabled/Displaced Scholarships
    Dollars Awarded $1,907,818.83 $1,298,321.70 $1,228,887.99 $77,761.48
    Percentage Awarded 14% 14% 50% 27%

22.  Can I receive both ESA and IBE funds at the same time?

You cannot be funded by both programs at the same time, although if you are eligible to receive tax credit scholarships through IBE (in K-12 Arizona private school & have a current, complete application on file) you can solicit Recommended Fund donations the entire time you are on ESA.  IBE will award you multi-year Recommended Fund Scholarships which can be paid to your private school once you submit you cancellation of ESA contract documentation to IBE.  This allows you to solicit funds for a future higher tuition, such as high school, the entire time you are in elementary school.