Iowa Families Apply for New Iowa's Students First Program in Droves

PR Newswire
Friday, June 2, 2023 at 6:41pm UTC

Iowa Families Apply for New Iowa's Students First Program in Droves

PR Newswire

As of June 2, over 9,900 Iowa students have applied for the state's inaugural Students First Education Savings Account Program

DES MOINES, Iowa, June 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The application window for Iowa's new Students First Education Savings Account (ESA) program opened Wednesday. As of Friday, June 2, at 11 a.m. (Central), 9,907 students applied to the Students First ESA program through Odyssey, a turnkey technology platform designed exclusively to support the administration of these types of state programs.

On average, one application was submitted every 12 seconds in the first 24 hours. Wednesday's launch also marked the first time any ESA program across the country used an automated approval process for applicants, enabling the successful verification of applicants' residency, income, and identification within seconds rather than weeks. The average wait time on Odyssey's help line was only 90 seconds.

"We are honored to help bring the Iowa Students First program to life for Iowans across the state," said Joe Connor, a former teacher and the CEO and founder of Odyssey. "We are committed to working closely with the Governor's office, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Revenue, and Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer to ensure the quick and accurate distribution of funds to families, and real-time insight into the program's effectiveness to ensure it continues to deliver on behalf of Iowans.  We were excited that our first in the nation automated approval gave near real-time results to Iowa families."

Odyssey is managing the application processing, identity verification, payment processing, fraud prevention, and customer service for the program. The Odyssey platform makes it easy and intuitive for families to apply quickly and provides timely customer service over phone, email, and online chat.

For more information on the Students First ESA Program and to apply, visit:

About Odyssey: Odyssey is the first platform designed exclusively for education savings account (ESA) and microgrant management. Led by a team of educators and developers, Odyssey takes a unique approach, combining a cutting-edge technology platform for enrollment and payment and high-quality user experience with on-the-ground engagement with parents and providers to increase participation in the programs. A turnkey solution, Odyssey is focused on making ESA and microgrant programs more accessible to families and more transparent for state leaders. Learn more at

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