podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews nonprofit’s officers on complexities of education savings accounts

redefinED staff

On this episode, Tuthill speaks with two members of Step Up For Students’ leadership team – Chief Operating Officer Gina Lynch and Chief Financial Officer Joe Pfountz – about the mechanics of managing ESAs, state-based programs where parents are given funds to pay for approved educational expenses that allow them to customize an education that fits their child’s needs.

The three discuss the resources necessary to manage the Gardiner Scholarship, a state-funded ESA for students with unique abilities that serves more than 17,000 children, and the complexities of managing an ESA expansion to other scholarship programs should that expansion become a reality. They also discuss the role artificial intelligence will play in the future of ESAs.

“There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes, but our main goal is to make it easier for parents. We are not here to roadblock them … Our intent is for the parent to get what they need, but we have a duty to protect the program as well.” -Gina Lynch

EPISODE DETAILS:

·       The process for qualifying for an education savings account

·       Multiple ways families can spend their money and the technical aspects of payment processes to various vendors

·       The development of MyScholarShop and the role artificial intelligence will play in the future of ESAs

·       Striking the right balance between flexibility and accountability and using parent feedback to improve the program

·       Preventative measures used for cybersecurity and data protection

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