Tuition and Financial Aid, The STO Requirement, “Raising” your Tuition


Tuition for the 2018-19 School Year is $7,100.

We are committed to accessibility. The actual cost to run the school next year is anticipated to remain more than $10,000/student. We set Tuition below the actual cost per student in order to ensure accessibility to all interested and potentially interested families, regardless of income.  We raise the balance of the funds needed to run the IDEA School through direct charitable donations and tax credit gifts recommended to the IDEA School.

Sibling Discounts: For concurrently enrolled siblings we offer a discount: 10% off tuition for the first sibling and 15% off tuition for each additional sibling (if original sibling is paying full tuition). If family qualifies for financial aid, both/all siblings will receive needed aid based on income.

We provide generous Financial Aid to all low and moderate-income families. 

The IDEA School values a diverse student body and being completely inclusive. More than 75% of our students attend on need-based financial aid. See below.



We are accepting financial aid applications until 4:00 pm on June 15th.
 See S.T.O. Requirement below.  

Please complete the IDEA School financial aid application below and
submit to info[at] (PDF only, please) or mail to:
IDEA School
c/o David Higuera
PO Box 148
Tucson, AZ 85702


The application requires you to attach a copy of the first 2 pages of your 2017 Tax Return (IRS Form 1040), with all Social Security Numbers blacked out.  If you have filed for an extension please indicate so and include a copy of your 2016 Form 1040 (pp. 1-2) with your application; we will still require the first 2 pages of your 2017 Form 1040 by September 30.  If your income is below the threshold required for filing taxes, you must submit proof of income.

Download and complete the Financial Aid Application below. Please Print Clearly. Call co-director David Higuera with any questions you have at (520) 589-4933:


* IDEA School Financial Aid Awards may be adjusted if necessary after School Tuition Organizations (STO’s) have made their Scholarship offers. In all cases, you will know what the “worst case scenario” is in terms of your out-of-pocket tuition obligation when you receive our offer of aid in May. In many cases, after STO’s have made their awards, you will see your out-of-pocket tuition obligation decrease.


School Tuition Organizations (STOs) have millions of dollars to award in need-based scholarships across the state each year. Individual awards are typically between $1,000 and $5,400 each, depending on the family’s need and on the particular STO.

In order to be considered for Financial Aid from the IDEA School, we require that you also apply for outside aid from the three (3) School Tuition Organizations (STOs) listed below.  We reserve the right to rescind our offer of aid if you fail to apply to the required STOs.  Note: To meet our requirement you must simply apply to the identified STOs; our Offer of Aid stands regardless of whether or not they award you any additional scholarships aid. 

By law, you may apply to as many STOs as you wish and raise up to your total tuition in aggregate. For a list of all STOs to which you can apply, click here.

E.S.A. NOTE: In a given school year, a student may receive either STO aid or ESA aid (Empowerment Scholarship Account), but not both. For more information about ESA scholarships for students with special needs and certain transfer students, click here.

We can help you navigate all this!  Call Co-Director David Higuera with any questions at all, at 520-589-4933.

The 3 School Tuition Organizations (STO’s)
to which you MUST apply are below:

Arizona Leadership Foundation,

(Please keep your eye on these websites for the latest information.)



Download application here.  DEADLINE is June 15th; apply ASAP to ensure your application is accepted. 
Large scholarships available (up to $5,400 each)
2018-19 Application Now Available for download. NOTE: They want you to submit your application and supporting documents all together, by fax or as email attachment (PDF). Supporting documents include:
— 2017 Tax Return (IRS Form 1040), pages 1 and 2, with SSNs blacked out; AND
Public School Attendance Verification (PSAV) for students transferring from a public/charter school; OR
STO Award Verification Form, for all students who previously received a scholarship award from any STO



Click here to apply.
2018-19 Application Now Available online! Round 2 Applications due August 15th.


Click here to apply. 
2018-19 Application Now Available online!  Applications accepted through the Fall. 



NOTE: Arizona Community Foundation recently announced that they will discontinue their STO program, and are no longer accepting NEW applicants.

HOWEVER, If you received an STO scholarship from the Arizona Community Foundation for the 2017-2018 academic year, you will be prompted to complete a renewal application for the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year. DEADLINE is MAY 18th. 

Click here for more info about the Renewal Application.


Additionally, you may wish to consider applying
to the following STOs as well:

AAA Scholarship Foundation: AAA Scholarships are FOR 3 YEARS and can be for as much as $5,400/year
2018-19 Application Now Available online!

Click here to learn more and apply either online or on paper. 

AAA Scholarships based on financial need. Families below a total household income of $41,560 for a family of three ($50,200 for a family of four; below 200% of FPL) will receive $5,400 per year, for 3 years. AAA Scholarships come with the requirement that the student does not accept or receive any other scholarships or recommended funds from any other School Tuition Organization during the years he/she is receiving AAA scholarship aid. 

Other STO’s

For the list of all the School Tuition Organizations authorized by the State of Arizona to disburse scholarships through the corporate tax credit program, click here. These STOs issue Low-Income Scholarships and/or “Disabled/Displaced Scholarships” (for students with documented special needs or who have ever been in the AZ foster care system).


“Raising” Your Tuition 


Tax Credit Donations from individual AZ taxpayers allow you to “RAISE” your tuition.  Friends and extended family, neighbors and colleagues — any Arizona taxpayer with state income tax liability — may help support your child with a Recommended Funds Tax Credit Donation, recommended specifically to them (both “original” and “plus”/”overflow” donations)

  • ALL students are eligible for the “original tax credit” tuition assistance.  Additionally,
  • Some students are also eligible for “plus/overflow/switcher” tax credit tuition aid.  Students are eligible for this additional aid if they meet at least one of the following conditions: (1) they are enrolled in Kindergarten when they first apply; (2) they were enrolled for at least one semester (90 days) of the prior or current school year in an Arizona public school (district or charter) before transferring to the private school; (3) they have a parent/guardian who is active duty military stationed in Arizona; (4) they have received “plus”/ “overflow” STO aid in a prior school year and have continued to attend a qualifying private school in Arizona; or (5)  they have received a “Corporate Low-Income Scholarship” from an STO in a prior school year and have continued to attend a qualifying private school in Arizona.  In the cases of public school transfer or previous STO award, written verification of public school attendance or prior STO award is required.

For Donors who may wish to help you
finance your child’s tuition:


For the 2018 tax year individual filers may donate up to $1,107 and get it back as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their 2018 tax return.  Married couples filing jointly may donate up to $2,213.

Donors must max out their “Original” tax credit donation before being able to donate for the “Plus/Overflow” Tax Credit. For more info, see our Tax Credit page.


Tax Credit donors may recommend that part of their donation go to a particular student and part go to IDEA School. These latter donations support our generous Scholarship Fund.

If your child is not eligible for a “Plus”/”Switcher”/”Overflow” tax credit donation (see above), please encourage your donor to recommend your child for their “Original” Tax Credit and the IDEA School for their “Plus”/”Overflow” Tax Credit.  

Call David if you need help: (520) 589-4933.


Per state statute, a School Tuition Organization (STO) may not make a scholarship award based solely on a donor’s recommendation. A donor may not support his/her own dependent with a tax credit gift; and a donor may not “swap” tax credit donations with another donor in order to benefit either donor’s own dependent.



Policy of Non-Discrimination

The IDEA School admits students of any race, color, national original, ethnic origin, socio-economic status, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status and physical ability to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national original, ethnic origin, socio-economic status, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status or physical ability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship/financial aid policies and programs, or athletic and other school-administered programs.