Most local families now eligible for up to $1,000 in child enrichment program

Grant funding can pay for before and after-school education activities, like summer camps, music lessons and tutoring.



Most Ohio families would now qualify to get $1,000 from the state for before and after-school educational activities, including summer camps, tutoring, music lessons and more.

Families with kids between the ages of 6 and 18 who either make less than 400% of the poverty line, or participate in income-based programs like Medicaid, SNAP and Ohio Works First, or who reside in districts experiencing high rates of chronic absenteeism or Ed Choice-eligible schools, are eligible for the Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) program.

According to Health and Human Services, 400% of the poverty line includes a family of four making $120,000 per year.

The program is meant to help families access educational activities for students who experienced learning disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

The activity also doesn’t have to be new. Parents can use the money to pay for what their child is already involved with.

“The changes to the Ohio ACE program provide more students access to educational activities outside of the traditional classroom,” interim state superintendent of public instruction Stephanie Siddens said. “The ACE Marketplace helps parents extend and enrich learning opportunities and broaden experiences for their children.”

Shannon Cox, Montgomery County Educational Services Center superintendent, said the program was available last year but not widely known about. This year, it has been more publicized, and it’s expected more families would take advantage.

Cox said activities like soccer, piano, and Girl Scouts can help develop the interpersonal skills that kids need. Since the pandemic started, Cox said there’s been a decline in those skills, especially among the youngest learners, because for a time, they weren’t around other kids. The incentive has been to get those families back involved since the pandemic.

“We just have a lot of folks that when they stopped participating, they haven’t come back,” Cox said.

Lacey Snoke, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Education, said ACE was created by House Bill 110 in September 2021. House Bill 45, voted on in the last General Assembly, expanded access and increased the grant amounts from $500 to $1,000 for qualifying Ohioans.

It also increased the number of Ohioans who are eligible and added families residing in 102 school districts that are identified as experiencing high rates of chronic absenteeism. Previously, only Ohioans making 300% of the poverty line or less were eligible.

A total of $125 million has been budgeted for the program, Snoke said, and the state is using federal funds to pay for it. The program is part of the Department’s Future Forward initiative to re-engage students and accelerate their learning.

The program has been expanded through 2024.

Visit to apply for an ACE educational savings account and browse the ACE Marketplace for service providers.

About the Author