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25,513 applications for AZ school vouchers turned in since opening universal category

The Arizona Department of Education has received 25,513 applications for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts since opening the universal application category on Aug. 16. The deadline to receive first quarter funding is Saturday, Oct. 15.

The department received a flood of applications in late September, after  an effortto block universal school voucher expansion  fell short. The increased traffic overwhelmed the application website, so families were  given an extra 15 days to apply for first-quarter funding.

In an interview earlier this month, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said most of the families applying did not have a record of attending public schools. 

“Over 75% of families already have their children enrolled in private schools," she said. "So we are simply using our taxpayer dollars, our education public funds to fund private schools.”

Under a new law, every Arizona student is eligible for up to $7,000 in state funds to attend a private, parochial or home school.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.