The Buckeye Institute: Education Savings Accounts Will Give American Families Certainty

May 14, 2020

Columbus, OH – On Thursday, The Buckeye Institute released its newest policy brief, Giving Families Certainty: Enhancing Education with Education Savings Accounts, which outlines how federally funded education savings accounts (ESA), can stabilize educational routines for families during future epidemics, natural disasters, or other unanticipated disruptions.

“The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted American education and future crises may do so again without warning,” said Greg R. Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute and author of Giving Families Certainty. “A federally funded ESA initiative—funded using existing tax dollars and with states in the lead—would give families the tools they need to continue their child’s education during future epidemics or natural disasters.”  

In the brief, Lawson outlines a number of ways that a federally funded ESA initiative should supplement—not replace—a wide range of educational savings and financing programs and should:

  • Allow families to combine monies from state and federal tax credits and future scholarship programs into their child’s ESA;
  • Allow families to rollover monies currently in Coverdell Savings Accounts and 529 plans into their child’s ESA;
  • Allow families in states with exiting voucher and ESA programs to place their federal ESA money into those state accounts; and 
  • Ensure states are in the lead to carefully craft guidelines and guardrails so that ESA funds are spent appropriately and without onerous bureaucratic burdens placed on families.

Giving Families Certainty builds on the proposal Lawson outlined in Policy Solutions for the Pandemic: Enhancing Education with Education Savings Accounts. Ohio has adopted many of Buckeye’s policy recommendations to boost the state’s health care system and support Ohio’s workers, small businesses, and economy including:

  • Increasing telehealth access and monitoring;
  • Extending universal recognition of out-of-state medical licenses to nurses;
  • Permitting pharmacists to test for COVID-19;
  • Enlisting medical and nursing students to support doctors and nurses fighting COVID-19;
  • Beginning to eliminate unnecessary budget commitments;
  • Instituting a hiring freeze in state government; and
  • Allowing establishments with an existing liquor permit to sell and deliver alcohol on carryout menus. 

The Buckeye Institute’s policy solutions that policymakers can take to ensure Ohio and the country are ready to fight and recover from the pandemic can be found at: www.BuckeyeInstitute.org/Policy-Solutions-for-the-Pandemic.

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