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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Announces Major Expansion Of School Choice Options For Children Of Veterans, First Responders

Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas announced Monday that the state Department of Education was expanding its education savings program to include veteran and first responder families.

The Arkansas Education Freedom Account program, which was launched in 2023, helps fund families who wish to send their children to private schools or homeschool them and previously included “Homeless students, current or former foster care students, students with disabilities” and “first-time kindergarteners.” For the 2024-2025 school year, “veterans, military reserve members, first responders, law enforcement officers and students from D-rated schools will now be eligible, according to a press release. (RELATED: Biden Admin Announces Latest Batch Of Student Loan Cancellations)

MIAMI, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 27: Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter, drinks a Cuban coffee with former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the Versailles Restaurant after holding a campaign event for her father on October 27, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Ivanka continues to campaign for her father ahead of the Nov. 3rd election day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – MARCH 5: Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders reacts to reporters after casting her vote on Super Tuesday at Dunbar Recreation Center on March 5, 2024 in Little Rock, Arkansas. 15 States and one U.S. Territory hold their primary elections on Super Tuesday, awarding more delegates than any other day in the presidential nominating calendar. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

“I’m a mom of three, so I know that every child in our state learns a little bit differently. Education Freedom Accounts recognize that parents’ choice, not random geography, should be the primary determining factor in where a child goes to school,” Sanders said at an event at Harvest Time Academy in Fort Smith, according to the press release. “I’m proud that we are prioritizing Arkansas’ heroes and their families in this year’s expansion.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 23: Save The Storks Director of External Relations Victoria Robinson, Louisiana State Representative and Senator-Elect Katrina Jackson and Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attend Stork Ball 2020 at the Ronald Reagan Building on January 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Save The Storks)

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – FEBRUARY 07: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivers the Republican response to the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden on February 7, 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Biden tonight vowed to not allow the U.S. to default on its debt by calling on Congress to raise the debt-ceiling and chastising Republicans seeking to leverage the standoff to force spending cuts. (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

The department started accepting applications on Monday for the upcoming school year, and families can receive up to $6,856 per savings account, according to the press release. Over 5,000 students enrolled in the program during the 2023-2024 school year and over 100 schools also participated.

“We are pleased to extend EFA program eligibility to these additional categories of students,” Jacob Oliva, secretary for the Arkansas Department of Education, said in the press release. “For most parents, public schools will be the first and best choice for their child, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not meet the needs of all students and families. Parents want and deserve options. The EFA program provides that, and now additional children will be eligible for those opportunities.”

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