Students who participate in the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program in Arizona are afforded rights and safeguards under state and federal laws.
Arizona Attorney General Determines ESA Records Protected Under FERPA
Mark Brnovich, Arizona attorney general from 2015 to 2023, expressed in an August 3, 2020, opinion that Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) records contain personally identifiable information (PII) and are subject to requirements in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). ESA education records often include student names, shipping addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, educational evaluations, disabilities and medical and mental health diagnoses.
ESA Scholarship Documents Guarded by State and Federal Laws
Empowerment Scholarship Account records are considered student level data under A.R.S. § 15-1045 and are confidential and not public record under A.R.S. § 15-1042. Information about scholarship recipients contained in education records is also federally protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (COPPA).