Odyssey to Serve as Administrator for Iowa's Students First ESAs, Helping Families Easily Access New Education Funding

Odyssey has been selected to help state leaders roll out ambitious program to provide new funds to Iowa families to support educational expenses

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Odyssey, a platform that helps states connect families to public funding and education services, announced today that they have finalized an agreement with the state of Iowa to power its Students First Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). The program enables families to access public funds to cover accredited nonpublic school tuition, fees, and other qualified educational expenses. Applications for the program will be released in the coming weeks and are due on June 30, 2023 for families interested in applying for the upcoming school year.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to serve Iowans by providing a seamless and intuitive experience for families accessing their education savings account,” said Joseph Connor, founder and CEO of Odyssey. “We are a team of former educators, as well as developers from some of America’s most innovative companies, focused on helping Governor Reynolds, the Iowa Department of Education, and state legislators translate their powerful policy ideas into tangible results for families. We look forward to working with Governor Reynolds and leaders across state government to implement their vision for the future of education in Iowa.”

Iowa is one of at least four states to expand educational options for families in 2023. In the past year, over 20 states have introduced similar legislation to support programs like ESAs or microgrants.

Iowa’s Students First Act will provide eligible students who attend accredited nonpublic schools with funding equal to per pupil funding allocated annually to the state’s public school districts. Funds will be deposited into an ESA and used for tuition, fees, and other qualified educational expenses. Eligible students will receive $7,635 for the 2023-2024 school year. The state will reach universal eligibility for K-12 students by the 2025-2026 school year. More information about the program is available at educateiowa.gov.

Odyssey is the first technology platform designed exclusively to support the administration of these types of state programs on behalf of families, vendors, and state leaders. The platform was selected in a competitive process based on its ability to securely administer funds, provide families with direct customer service and support, and offer the state real-time insight into the program’s effectiveness.

Odyssey will be working with a team including staff from the Office of the Governor, Department of Education, Department of Management, and Office of the Chief Information Officer, to implement next steps regarding the application process and technology platform.

About Odyssey: Odyssey is the first platform designed exclusively for education savings account (ESA) and microgrant management. Led by a team of educators and developers, Odyssey takes a unique approach, combining a cutting-edge technology platform for enrollment and payment and high-quality user experience with on-the-ground engagement with parents and providers to increase participation in the programs. A turnkey solution, Odyssey is focused on making ESA and microgrant programs more accessible to families and more transparent for state leaders. Learn more at www.withodyssey.com.

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SOURCE Odyssey

Odyssey to Serve as Administrator for Iowa's Students First ESAs, Helping Families Easily Access New Education Funding WeeklyReviewer

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