More than 15,900 applications on behalf of 27,270 students were submitted for the Utah Fits All Scholarship.

The application window for the inaugural K-12 school choice scholarship program opened Feb. 28 and closed on Monday. Utah lawmakers appropriated $82.5 million over the past two years to start the program, which will launch this fall with 10,000 scholarships awarded.

Scholarships can be used to pay for private education options such as private school tuition, educational software and hardware, microschool tuition and after-school programs. Each scholarship is $8,000.

“With the application period closed, I’m excited to see that 27,270 children have applied for the Utah Fits All Scholarship,” said Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Riverton, sponsor of HB215, passed in 2023, which created the program.

“This is an exciting time for families and students in Utah as we increase options and opportunities for students in our state,” said Pierucci, chairwoman of the House Education Committee.

Passage of the legislation was a sea change in Utah education policy in that it expands the use of public money for private education choices far beyond existing programs for families of children with disabilities.

Scholarship awards and waitlist information will be provided to applicants on May 3, according to ACE Scholarships, which is managing the program under contract with the Utah State Board of Education.

Scholarships will be awarded based on the guidelines in HB215, which describe three levels of preference:

⋅Students whose family income is at the 200% federal poverty level or less.

⋅Students whose family’s income is between 200-555% of the federal poverty level.

⋅All Utah K-12 students regardless of family income.

Jackie Guglielmo, vice president of education savings account programs at ACE Scholarships, said “high demand for the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program is proof that Utah families are hungry for high-quality educational options.”

ACE Scholarships “is committed to ensuring the application and award process runs as smoothly as possible and we will continue providing frequent updates to applicants,” Guglielmo said.

Robyn Bagley, executive director of the parent advocacy organization Utah Education Fits All, said supporters were “not at all surprised to see such high demand for the Utah Fits All Scholarship as profoundly illustrated by the 27,270 student applications submitted to the program in its inaugural year. The outstanding response is indicative of parents’ growing inclination to shape their children’s learning journey.”

According to Bagley, nearly 13,000 individual student applications were received less than a week into the application period.

“We look forward to hearing the stories of what the scholarship students experience and accomplish in their first year when given the power to customize learning to fit their unique needs, values and passions,” Bagley said.

Pierucci said the Utah Fits All Scholarship “will empower families to make the best decisions for their kiddos in providing opportunities to learn in a way that makes sense for them.”