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


Tuition for the 2019-20 School Year remains the same:
$7,100/yr – Grades 2-7
$6,500/yr – Grades K-1 (shorter day)

We are committed to accessibility and inclusion. The actual cost to run the school exceeds $11,000/student. We set Tuition below the actual cost in order to ensure accessibility to all 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: 15% off tuition for the first sibling and 20% 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 low-income families. The IDEA School strongly values being inclusive and reflective of our Tucson community.  The vast majority of our students attend on need-based financial aid, with low-income families eligible for substantial aid from the school.


2nd Round Deadline:
June 15, 2019

Please complete the IDEA School financial aid application at this link or below. If applying on paper, submit to (PDF only, please)
or mail to:
IDEA School
325 W 2nd Street #6
Tucson, AZ 85705

The application requires you to attach/upload a copy of the first 2 pages of your 2018 Federal Tax Return (IRS Form 1040), with all Social Security Numbers blacked out. 

You  also must complete the S.T.O. Requirement (see below). 

You can complete the Financial Aid Application online or download and complete the paper version below. Please print clearly. Call Stefanie Kirk or David Higuera with any questions you may 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 Financial Aid in late Spring/early Summer. 


In order to receive Financial Aid from the IDEA School, we require that you also have applied to the School Tuition Organizations (STO’s) listed below.  We reserve the right to rescind our offer of aid if you fail to apply to the required STO’s. School Tuition Orgs have millions of dollars to award in need-based scholarships across the state each year. Individual awards are typically between $1,000 and $5,000 each, depending on the family’s need and funds available.

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 520-589-4933.


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

(1) Arizona Leadership Foundation (ALF), &
(2) IBE – Institute for Better Education

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


(Note: Submit NOW. If your application is deemed incomplete, you will still have time to resubmit before the deadline. We can help!)

Download paper application, and supporting documents, here.
Must submit your application and supporting documents all together, by fax or as email attachment (PDF only). We can submit on your behalf if you bring us all needed documents.


2) IBE  (INSTITUTE FOR BETTER EDUCATION)  Second Round Deadline: Aug 15, 2019

Click here to apply online or download the paper application.


Additionally, you may wish to apply to other STO’s as well. You may apply to as many as you want, and raise your total tuition in aggregate.

For the list of all the School Tuition Organizations authorized by the State of Arizona to disburse scholarships through the corporate low-income tax credit program, click here.

Eligible students may receive both the Low-Income Scholarship and the “Disabled/Displaced Scholarship” (for students with documented special needs or who have ever been in the AZ foster care system).

For families who have received AAA Scholarship Foundation scholarships in the past, or are interested in applying for AAA, please visit their websiteDeadline: May 31, 2019.  AAA application may be completed either on paper or online. If approved, AAA Scholarship Foundation provides 3 years of scholarship funds, guaranteed. Scholarship amounts based on income, up to $5,500/year; see their chart.  AAA Scholarship Foundation does not allow scholarship recipients to receive any other STO aid (recommended funds or scholarships) while receiving a AAA scholarship.


Raising Your Tuition

Tax Credit Donations from individual AZ taxpayers allow you to “raise” your remaining tuition obligation.  Friends and extended family, neighbors and colleagues — any Arizona taxpayer with state income tax liability — may help support your child with an Individual 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 friends/family who may wish to help you

Donation Limits:

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. These figures include both the “original” tax credit donation and the “plus” tax credit donation.

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.

Donating to a student and to IDEA School

Arizona Tax Credit donors may recommend that part of their donation go to a particular student and part go to IDEA School to fund low-income scholarships for all students in need.

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 Higuera if you need help or have any questions: (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 strongly values diversity and inclusion in our student body, staff, and Board of Directors and aims, through our composition, values and practices, to reflect the diversity of the Tucson community. We offer robust financial aid to support this policy.

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.