The Diocese of Nashville Catholic Schools Office co-hosted with the Tennessee Department of Education an information session for families interested in participating in the state’s Education Savings Account program on Thursday, March 23, at the Catholic Pastoral Center.
A variety of Nashville area private schools, including several Catholic schools, that have been approved to accept ESA students participated in the Approved Schools Fair on March 23. It was one of several events being organized by the state Department of Education in the Nashville area, said Pam Lehman, outreach coordinator for the ESA program.
“It’s an opportunity for the schools and families to meet,” and for the schools to share information with prospective families, Lehman said.
At the Approved School Fairs, families can fill out an application to participate in the ESA program, Lehman said. Families can also apply online and find more information about the program at esa.tnedu.gov.
Under the program, qualified families can receive state and local funds to use for education expenses, including tuition and fees, at approved private schools.
The number of private schools in the Nashville area that have been approved for the program has increased for its second year, Lehman said.
“I think everybody’s really excited,” Lehman said. “It’s good to see more schools are interested.”
The deadline for families to apply for the program for the 2023-24 school year beginning in the fall is May 17. Once a student has been approved for the ESA program, they must still complete the application process for the school they intend to attend.
As of March, 40 ESA students are enrolled at one of the 10 participating diocesan parochial schools in the area. The participating schools include: Father Ryan High School, Christ the King School, St. Ann School, St. Edward School, Holy Rosary Academy, St. Pius X Classical Academy, and St. Henry School, all in Nashville; St. Matthew School in Franklin; St. Joseph School in Madison; and Pope John Paul II Preparatory School in Hendersonville.
Additionally, Overbrook Catholic School and St. Cecilia Academy, which are owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, are participating in the ESA Program.
“ESA has given us an amazing opportunity,” Kim White, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Catholic Schools Office, recently told the Tennessee Register. “ESA allows us to not only offer a superior education product, but to invite families to encounter Christ.”
The ESA program is open to qualified families with children zoned to attend a Metro Nashville public school, a Shelby County district school, or a school that is in the Achievement School District in Davidson and Shelby County. Families must meet income guidelines to qualify.
The amount each account holder will receive for each participating student is about $8,200.
For more information or to apply, visit esa.tnedu.gov.