Tuition and Financial Aid, STOs


Tuition for the 2017-18 School Year is $6,600.

We are committed to accessibility. The actual cost to run the school next year is anticipated to be more than $10,000/student. We set Tuition well below the actual cost in order to ensure accessibility to all interested and potentially interested families, regardless of income. We raise the balance through private donations and tax credit gifts. You can help!

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 aid based on need.

Financial Aid is available. The IDEA School values a diverse student body and operates a generous Financial Aid program.


During the 2017-18 School Year our Fees remain the same: $100/year for classroom materials and supplies (to help offset some of the cost; we go through a lot!) and $80/year for field trips (to help cover admissions fees and gas/maintenance for shuttle). These fees, totaling $180 for the year, are billed monthly along with tuition.


If you have not already done so, please complete the application for aid from the AZ Leadership Foundation:


DEADLINE: Thursday, June 15th   Click here to apply.
Scholarships based on financial need. Typical scholarships range from $2,500 to $4,500 each.

IDEA School internal aid: Please complete the IDEA School financial aid application below and submit to david [at]

The application requires you to attach a copy of the first 2 pages of your 2016 Federal Tax Return (Form 1040), with all SSN’s blacked out.  If you are not required to file a personal income tax return, you must include a narrative explanation of your financial situation. If you have filed for an extension please indicate so; we will still require the first 2 pages of your 1040 once it is filed.

See S.T.O. Requirement below.  If you have missed the STO deadlines but are eligible for ESA funding, you may apply for ESA consideration at any time.  See ESA info here.

Please download the following two documents and 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 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. In many cases, after STOs have made their awards, you will see your out-of-pocket obligation decreased.


School Tuition Organizations (STOs) offer low-income and other scholarship assistance to enable all Arizona families, regardless of income, to choose a private school education for their kids.  STOs have millions of dollars to award in need-based scholarships across the state each year, and individual awards are typically between $2,000 and $5,300 each, depending on need and on the STO.

In order to be considered for Financial Aid from IDEA School, we require that you also apply for outside aid as well.  Our offers of financial aid are contingent upon you completing all required STO (or ESA) applications by their due dates.  

By law, you may apply to as many STOs as you wish and raise up to your total tuition in aggregate.*  In a given school year, a student may receive either STO aid or ESA aid, but not both. For more information about Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA’s) and to see how you can benefit, click here. 

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

The School Tuition Organizations (STO’s)
to which you must apply:


DEADLINE: June 15th.   Click here to apply.
Scholarships based on financial need. Typical scholarships range from $2,500 to $4,500.




Deadline was May 5th. If more funds become available: “First-completed-First-awarded while funds last.”  Download application (PDF).  Click here for updates.  Scholarships based on financial need; guaranteed funding levels based on household income: Families below 200% of Federal Poverty Level receive $5,300 per year, for 3 years.


Deadline has passed.
Scholarships based on financial need and personal statement. Typical scholarships range from $3,000 to $3,500.

Please keep your eye on the websites linked above for the latest information.


To receive “Recommended Funds” tax credit donations from friends/family, and from the IDEA School,
You must apply to AT LEAST ONE OF THESE STOs as well:

APESF (Arizona Private Education Scholarship Fund)

2017-18 Application NOW AVAILABLE!  Click here to apply. 

– or –

IBE (Institute for Better Education)

2017-18 Application NOW AVAILABLE!  Click here to apply.
“First Round” Deadline has passed, but you may complete the application any time to qualify for recommended funds.

Please Note: Both APESF and IBE process “RECOMMENDED FUNDS” Individual Tax Credit donations. This includes both “original” and “plus”/”overflow” donations. This is the avenue through which friends and family may help you with tuition with their tax credit donations.  It is also the avenue through which the IDEA School provides some of our financial aid commitment to you, based on tax credit donations that have been recommended to the school.  See explanations of these different kinds of donations below.

Tax Credit Donations (both “original and “plus”) 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, specifically recommending the funds go to support your child.

  • ALL students are eligible for the “original tax credit” tuition aid.  Additionally, 
  • Some students are also eligible for “plus” or “overflow 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 since; 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 since.  In the cases of public school transfer or previous STO award, written verification of public school attendance or prior STO award is required. Ask David for details.

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


For the 2017 tax year individual filers may donate up to $1,089 and get it back as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their 2017 tax return.

Married couples filing jointly may donate up to $2,177.

Donors may choose to make small donations along the way throughout the year or even have the donations deducted directly from their paychecks — redirecting state taxes owed every pay period — meaning their monthly take-home pay is unaffected.  The cumulative total for the year ends up as their tax credit amount at the end, up to the limits noted above.  Donors must max out their “Original tax credit” donation before being able to donate for the “Plus” or “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 aggressive Scholarship Fund — which allows us to provide need-based scholarship aid to more than 70% of our students. 

If your child is not eligible for a “Plus”/”Overflow” tax credit donation (see above), please encourage your donors to recommend your child for their “Original” Tax Credit and 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 each other’s dependents.


For the list of all the School Tuition Organizations authorized by the State of Arizona to receive and disburse corporate tax credit donations (i.e. low-income and “disabled/displaced” scholarships) click here.



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.