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Empowerment Scholarships

October 19, 2017 by Angela Hansen0

Does Sonoran Sun Pediatric Therapy accept an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) to pay for therapy services?

Yes! Occupational and Speech therapies are covered under an ESA as approved therapies for students with a documented disability, MET Evaluation Report, or Individual Educational Plan (IEP) from a public or private school.

What is an Empowerment Scholarship Account?

In Arizona, an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) allows parents to “seek a range of alternative educational services, such as private school or home-based education, to tailor an individualized educational plan that is best for their child.”

“To participate in the program”, applicants abide by an annually signed contract that includes the following:

  • Student cannot be enrolled in a public school (including charters and public online schools)
  • Student cannot be enrolled in a summer public school program (including charters and public online schools)
  • Student cannot receive any School Tuition Organization (STO) scholarship or any tax credit scholarship concurrently within the same year
  • Applicant submits quarterly expense reports, with uploaded receipts, by a given deadline
  • Applicant adheres to the approved expenditures
  • Applicant spends a portion of their annual funds every quarter”

Among other eligible spending that is covered under an ESA, funds can be used to pay for educational therapies or services for students with documented disabilities. Covered therapies under an ESA include occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, vision therapy, art therapy, and recreational therapy. Additionally, “assisted technology, defined as ‘assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices which promote greater independence by enabling students to perform tasks they were formally not able to accomplish or had difficulty accomplishing’ can be rented if prescribed by therapy”.

An ESA may not be used:

-to pay for fees for late, cancelled, or missed appointments

-for any therapy where payment involves any form of medical insurance

Visit for more information

How does an Empowerment Scholarship Account work?

Funds are dispersed on an ESA Prepaid Bank Card, which can be used like a debit card when it is time to pay for your therapy services. Please read the most updated ESA Applicant Handbook for further details (

Need more information?

If you have any questions about an Empowerment Scholarship Account, please do not hesitate to contact us or the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program:

-ESA website:

-ESA phone: 602-364-1969

-ESA e-mail:


By Kristina Burnham, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathology Supervisor



At Sonoran Sun Pediatric Therapy we consider our staff members as family. Are you looking to join a therapy team to help improve the lives of as many children as possible, while working in a positive work place with ethical values? If so, please click on the link below to see if any current therapist or support staff positions are available.


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