On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to support the Student Empowerment Act, S. 3102, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). This bill will further expand 529 education savings accounts to include K-12 elementary and secondary school expenses for public, private, and religious schools, including homeschool students.
The bill amends the Student Opportunity Amendment, which was signed into law in December 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and expanded 529 accounts to include tuition for K-12 elementary and secondary schooling, but a point of order raised by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stripped the amendment of its applicability to homeschoolers under the Byrd Rule. 529 accounts are tax-benefitted savings plans designed to increase and spur savings for forthcoming education expenses. Their use greatly expands school choice, allowing parents to use more of their own money for educational options that best fit their child’s needs.
The Student Empowerment Act allows expenses such as tutoring costs, books, fees associated standardized tests, and educational therapies for students with disabilities to be paid for out of 529 accounts. Students with disabilities would be able to use their 529 savings accounts to also pay for educational therapies, which would be incredibly advantageous, as these students would be further empowered to learn in ways that are customized for their needs.
“This bill rights that wrong, by re-including homeschool families as equally eligible to use a 529 savings account for educational expenses, to ensure that all families are able to use these tax-advantaged accounts to pay for their child’s elementary and secondary education,” Sen. Cruz said of the Student Empowerment Act. “By investing in the next generation of students and expanding school choice, we’re able to allow more students to have access to an education that truly fits their child’s need, and to escape the one-size-fits-all approach to education.”
More than 75 percent of 529 plans are used by families making $150,000 or less. Restoring the intent of the Student Opportunity Amendment by expanding 529 education savings accounts to include K-12 expenses for public, private, and homeschool students will help working class and middle-income families save money and better prepare their children for the future by equipping them with the best education available. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to support the Student Empowerment Act, S. 3102.