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 for 2018-19 is more than $11,000/student. We set Tuition below the actual cost 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.  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 needed aid based on income.

We provide very generous Financial Aid to low-income families.

The IDEA School values a diverse student body and being completely inclusive and reflective of our Tucson community. More than 90% of our students attend on need-based financial aid.



Some financial aid remains available for qualified families. 

Please complete the IDEA School financial aid application below and
submit to (PDF only, please) or mail to:
IDEA School
325 W 2nd Street
Tucson, AZ 85705


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 or a narrative of your family’s financial situation.

Download and complete the Financial Aid Application below. Please Print Clearly. Call co-director David Higuera with any questions 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 some cases, after STO’s have made their awards, you will see your Remaining Tuition Obligation (RTO) 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 funds available.

In order to receive Financial Aid from the IDEA School, we require that you also have applied to the 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. 

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

(1) Arizona Leadership Foundation, and (2) IBE

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


Download application here.  Application for 2019-20 school year opens in April.
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 available online. 

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 tax credit program, click here. These STO’s 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).  Eligible students may receive BOTH.


“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 Donors 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.

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 the school:

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.