DES MOINES – The state of Iowa has selected Odyssey to administer its new Students First education savings accounts (ESAs).  

Governor Reynolds signed the Students First Act into law on January 24, 2023. The program will provide K-12 students who attend accredited private (nonpublic) schools in Iowa with educational funding equal to “per pupil” funds allocated annually to Iowa’s public schools.  It goes into effect for the 2023-2024 school year.   

The state issued a request for proposal (RFP) on January 26, 2023, and selected Odyssey through a competitive solicitation process that generated four applicants.  

Odyssey was chosen based on its ability to manage all aspects of program administration, including applications, financial transactions, compliance, fraud prevention, and customer service. Odyssey currently manages ESA programs in two states.  

The state of Iowa will now begin the contract negotiation process with Odyssey. Once a contract is finalized, a team including staff from the Office of the Governor, Department of Education, Department of Management, and Office of the Chief Information Officer, will work with Odyssey to implement the application process and technology platform.  

Details about the application process, including when it will begin and how families will verify school enrollment and/or income eligibility, will be provided in the coming weeks. 

In the meantime, families interested in the Students First ESA program can find information about eligibility and answers to frequently asked questions on the Iowa Department of Education website. The webpage is updated regularly, and families are encouraged to sign up to receive notifications when new information is posted.