Implementation | June 18, 2024

Expand⁠i⁠ng access ⁠t⁠o educa⁠t⁠⁠i⁠on freedom programs: how ⁠t⁠o engage and empower fam⁠i⁠l⁠i⁠es 

Why Marketing and Communications Matters 

Marketing and communications are the unsung heroes in the realm of education freedom policy. They’re the catalysts who bridge the gap between programs and families seeking alternatives to their current educational settings. When administrators prioritize robust communication strategies in the design and execution of these programs, they amplify their impact, bolstering access, integrity, and satisfaction among participants. 

In many cases, program administrators grapple with limited resources or bandwidth to develop comprehensive communication plans. Yet, in an era of rapidly evolving policies, proactive communication becomes the linchpin that ensures families are equipped with the knowledge and confidence to navigate them effectively. 

Empowering Families Through Information 

Imagine a world where every eligible family is not only aware of these programs but is also equipped with the skills to leverage them optimally. Effective marketing and communications help guide families through the labyrinth of public benefit programs, from education savings accounts to tuition assistance initiatives. 

By disseminating clear, concise information, administrators remove barriers to access and debunk misconceptions that may hinder participation. Families become empowered advocates for their children’s education, armed with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions that align with their unique circumstances and aspirations. 

Moreover, robust communication builds trust and fosters a sense of partnership between program administrators and participants. When families feel seen, heard, and valued, they’re more likely to engage actively with the program, leading to greater program integrity and sustainability.  

Building Trust Through Transparency 

Navigating the gray areas of expenses and eligibility can be daunting for families. When administrators foster open dialogue and provide timely updates, they empower families to make informed decisions that align with program guidelines.   

Transparent communication also serves as a safeguard against misinformation and ensures equitable access to program benefits for all participants. Providing participants with accurate, easily digestible information empowers them to navigate potential pitfalls and complexities with confidence. From understanding eligibility criteria to adhering to reporting obligations, transparent communication lays the foundation for program integrity and accountability. 

Lessons Learned in Utah 

The Utah Fits All Education Savings Account (ESA) Program was enacted into law on January 28, 2023, marking a significant milestone in educational opportunity in the Beehive State. The law set forth a unique program design, requiring the Utah State Board of Education to contract with an independent non-profit program manager to administer every aspect of the program from applications to financial management. 

With the program launching for the 2024-2025 school year, the Board set out to solicit proposals from potential program managers in August 2023 with the goal of selecting a vendor in November and opening the application portal by March 2024.   

Without a program manager up and running for the first year, advocates of the new law stepped in to inform and engage families, schools, and education providers about the program. Non-profit advocacy organization, Utah Education Fits All, quickly developed a marketing and communications plan, serving a critical need in achieving broad awareness and engagement across the state. 

Utah Education Fits All promptly set up a website as a centralized platform for families, schools, and education providers seeking information about the program. The website featured an option to subscribe for more updates, attracting over 18,000 families. This subscriber count served as compelling evidence of demand, demonstrating a need to expand the program. The legislature ultimately doubled the program’s size. 

Utah Education Fits All initiated a digital campaign and capitalized on media coverage to boost program visibility. Additionally, they orchestrated in-person education provider and school fairs, along with virtual webinars, to educate and empower stakeholders. These events facilitated invaluable exchanges where stakeholders voiced questions, concerns, and suggestions, leading to adjustments and enhancements that smoothed the program’s launch process. 


It is essential to recognize the pivotal role that clear, targeted marketing and communication plays in fostering understanding, engagement, and support among stakeholders. Prioritizing marketing and communications not only ensures that stakeholders are well-informed about the program’s benefits and requirements but also establishes trust and confidence in its implementation.  

In light of this, the following recommendations serve as essential guidelines for ESA program administrators to enhance their marketing and communication efforts: 

  • Identify stakeholders and prioritize their communication needs. 
  • Craft tailored messaging that resonates with diverse audiences. 
  • Establish a proactive communication calendar to keep stakeholders informed and engaged. 
  • Partner with trusted sources and community leaders to amplify program messaging. 
  • Embrace feedback and iterate on communication strategies to meet evolving needs. 

By implementing the above recommendations, ESA program administrators can enhance their communication efforts and foster meaningful connections with stakeholders, ultimately contributing to the program’s success in advancing educational opportunities for enrolled students. 

Connect with the YESF Implementation Team and Learn More in Our ESA Implementation Roadmap 

The ESA Implementation Roadmap provides comprehensive resources tailored to address the unique challenges faced by administrators in delivering accessible, user-centric education freedom programs. When we transcend statutory requirements and prioritize the needs of families, we can create a program landscape that empowers every child to thrive. 

Read chapter two of the ESA Roadmap here. 

yes. every kid. foundation’s vision for policy implementation: every program intended to give families freedom in education is easy to sign up for, easy to use, and meets the felt needs and desires of families.