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Alabama Becomes the 11th State with Universal Education Freedom. Which State will be Next?

By: Andrew Handel

Earlier this morning, Alabama officially became the 11th state with universal education freedom following Governor Ivey’s signature on HB 129. The legislation, titled the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students’ Act, creates an education freedom account program that all students will be able to apply for by 2027. The bill was championed by Governor Ivey as her signature priority for the legislative session and was led through the legislature by Representative Danny Garrett and Senator Arthur Orr.

The new education freedom account program will be available to families with a household income below 300% of the federal poverty level in 2025 and 2026. In 2027 and beyond, the program will open to all students in the state. Families will be able to access up to $7,000 for qualifying educational expenses like tuition, testing fees, therapies for students with special needs, textbooks, and more.  Families that choose to homeschool can receive up to $2,000 for qualifying educational expenses per student up to a maximum of $4,000 per year.

The Education Freedom Alliance featured the Yellowhammer State as a top target for 2024. In ALEC’s 2023 Index of State Education Freedom, Alabama ranked 22nd among the states for its education freedom environment. With passage of HB 129, Alabama is poised to become one of the top 10 states for education freedom in the 2024 edition and joins 10 other states that have passed universal education freedom programs since 2021 (West Virginia, Arizona, Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and Oklahoma). Several other states including Louisiana, Tennessee, and Missouri are also considering universal education freedom bills this year.

Voters and lawmakers around the country continue to send the message loud and clear – all students and families deserve the ability access the learning environment that will best serve them whether that school be public, private, charter, virtual, home-based, or something else.  Thanks to the efforts of Governor Ivey and state legislators, all Alabama families will soon be able to make this decision for themselves and put every student in the best position to succeed.


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