The information provided on this page is based on our understanding of the law and may change as rules and policies are created as part of the implementation process before scholarships are issued. Information on this page will be updated as soon as we are aware of any changes in the program.

Does your child qualify for an ESA scholarship?

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are designed to help the students most in need of educational options.

Eligibility for ESA scholarships is limited by:

  • Where a student lives

  • Whether or not they have an IEP

  • Household income

  • If a student qualifies based on income, they must also have attended a public school for at least a semester during the year prior to applying for a scholarship or be entering Kindergarten or First Grade.


Areas of the state that qualify for an ESA scholarship

ESA scholarships are currently only available for students living in Missouri’s most populous regions.

Only students living in a county with a charter form of government (St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and Jackson County) or in a city with a population greater than 30,000 (St. Louis City, Blue Springs, Wentzville, Saint Peters, O’Fallon, Cape Girardeau, Saint Charles, Columbia, Springfield, Lee’s Summit, Liberty, Kansas City, Jefferson City, Wildwood, Oakville, University City, Florissant, Chesterfield, St. Joseph, and Joplin) will qualify to apply for an ESA scholarship.

This geographic restriction is based on residency, so if a student living in one of these regions receives an ESA they will not be required to use the scholarship to pay tuition to a school in one of these locations. They would be able to use the scholarship funds to pay for tuition at any school in Missouri that they choose.

Find out if you live in an area that qualifies using the map below. Qualifying regions are highlighted. You can zoom by using the "+" and "-" buttons and can access more information by clicking on the icon with an arrow in the grey bar at top.


Does your child meet the IEP or income requirements to qualify for an ESA scholarship? 

ESA scholarships are intended to help the students most in need of better educational options and are disbursed based on a student’s special needs and household income.

In order to qualify for an ESA, a student needs to either have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a household income of no more than 200 percent of what would qualify the student for the federal free and reduced lunch program.

While individual education assistance organizations may have their own criteria for awarding scholarships, the ESA legislation requires that scholarships first be distributed to students with an IEP or a household income at 100 percent of the free and reduced lunch rate, and then if there is still funding for additional scholarships students who with a household income of up to 200 percent of the free and reduced lunch rate will become eligible.

Free and Reduced Lunch rates are based on household size and income, please use the chart below to determine if your child is eligible at either the 100% or 200% level.

Free and Reduced Lunch Rates.png

Additional requirements

If a student qualifies based on the income requirements, they must also have attended a public school for at least a semester during the past year or be entering Kindergarten or First Grade.