Ohio ACE | Frequently Asked Questions

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Common Questions About the Ohio ACE Educational Savings Account Program from Parents and Guardians

Parent or Guardian Application Process for ACE Savings Account Program:

Invoices\Receipts\Reimbursement Process

Additional Parent and Guardian General Questions

Qualified Education Service Providers (QESP)

Schools and Districts as Qualified Education Service Providers


Common Questions About the Ohio ACE Educational Savings Account Program from Parents and Guardians

    What is the Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) Educational Savings Account program?
    The Ohio Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) Educational Savings Account program provides qualifying families with a $500 credit that can be used to pay for a variety of educational enrichment activities that will support learning for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Which students are eligible to receive ACE funds?
    The ACE Educational Savings Account program is available to any Ohio child between the ages 6 and 18 years old whose family income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. Eligible children include those who attend any Ohio public or nonpublic school or are home educated by their parents and have been excused from the compulsory attendance law for the purpose of home instruction.

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    How much money can a student receive from ACE funds?

    Eligible households would receive $500 per student between the ages of 6 and 18 years old.

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    How can students use the ACE Account?
    • Before- or after-school educational programs
      • An educational program means a class, workshop or educational experience to develop knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to the student’s individual learning needs.
    • Day camps, including camps for academics, music and arts
    • Tuition for learning extension centers
      • A learning extension center is a supervised physical location operated by faith-based, community or nonprofit organization that provides workspace or workstations where students receive instruction and participate in enrichment activities designed to engage and support learning.
    • The purchase of curriculum and material for homeschool families
    • Educational, learning or study skills services
    • Field trips to historical landmarks, museums, science centers and theaters, including admission, exhibit and program fees
    • Language classes
    • Musical instrument lessons
      • Lessons are allowable service; however, musical instruments and other hardware are not included with the ACE Educational Savings account.
    • Tutoring

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    How does Merit International Inc. and the Ohio Department of Education work with ACE applicants?
    The Department determines program eligibility for the ACE families. Merit provides eligible families with the portal to access their savings account and submit claims for reimbursement. Merit also prescreens the qualified education service providers found in the searchable Education Marketplace website. This website is available for families to use when locating organizations that provide services or goods (homeschool only) that can be purchased with Ohio ACE funds.

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Parent or Guardian Application Process for ACE Savings Account Program:

    How do families start the ACE application process?
    1. Families must submit an online application including income documentation to the Ohio Department of Education. Parent(s) or guardian(s) must submit income verification to determine eligibility. To submit income verification, the parent(s) or guardian(s) must have an OH | ID account.  
    2. The Ohio Department of Education completes the income verification process and determines program eligibility for all applicants.
    3. After income verification is complete, eligible applicant information is shared with Merit International, Inc. Qualifying families will receive one email from Merit with instructions about the Ohio ACE program and another email for creating their Ohio ACE savings account portal username and password.
      Screenshot of program details and account creation

    4. Families now will be able to log in to their savings account portal at app.aceohio.org. A link to log in to the portal can be found in the upper-right corner of the Ohio ACE home page. Families also will be able to download and use the ACE Ohio app for Apple or Android phones. Screenshot of Welcome Screen

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    What is an OH|ID account?
    An OH|ID is an online user account that provides a secure, personalized experience for Ohioans to interact with multiple state agencies, programs and services, all with a single username and password.
     
    • Users who do NOT have an OH|ID:

      To access the applications, users first must create an OH|ID. See the Department of Education OHID Portal Help video and resources for more information. Users with an existing Department of Education (formerly SAFE) profile will be able to link their profile to their new OH|ID account once the account is established. Those who do not have a Department of Education profile will be prompted to create one. For assistance with OH | ID, email profile.help@education.ohio.gov or call 877-644-6338

     
    • Users who do have an OH|ID:

      Those with an existing Department of Education (formerly SAFE) profile will be able to link that credential to their OH|ID account during the Department of Education profile setup process.

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    What is the Education Marketplace and who are Qualified Education Service Providers (QESPs)?

    The Education Marketplace is a website with a database of Qualified Education Service Providers who have been prescreened by Merit for offering goods or services that meet the criteria of goods and services that can be purchased with Ohio ACE funds. Approved organizations offering a qualifying program or service under Ohio Revised Code 3310.70 can be listed as a Qualified Education Service Provider. Organizations will be listed in the Education Marketplace where families can search for these organizations and the services they provide.

    Reimbursement occurs in one of two ways.

    • Families can choose to pay the service provider directly for services and submit a receipt for personal reimbursement to them through their Ohio ACE claims portal.
    • Some participating service providers will allow a parent to submit an invoice to be paid to the service provider with funds from the student’s Ohio ACE account. Claims must be marked in the claims portal as “Pay to Me” for personal reimbursement or “Pay to Provider” for payment that will be sent straight to the provider. If the option “Pay to Provider” does not appear in the claims portal when filling in the form, that indicates that that service provider does not accept claim payments from the Ohio ACE app directly and the family must instead pay the service provider and submit their personal receipt in the claims portal for personal reimbursement.

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Invoices\Receipts\Reimbursement Process

    What do I need to submit a claim for reimbursement?
    •  A receipt is necessary when a service or good has been paid for and the parent or guardian would like to be reimbursed personally. 
    • An invoice is necessary when a service or good has not been paid for and the parent or guardian would like the service provider to be reimbursed.

    Please note, not all service providers accept direct pay from Ohio ACE accounts. It is important to check with the service provider ahead of time to determine if direct payment by the parent is required.

     

    • The receipts or invoices that are uploaded in the claim process must contain the following information: 
      • The name of the service provider 
      • The name of the student receiving the service
      • The name of the service
      • The name of the good (homeschool only) 
      • The date the service occurred or will occur
      • The date the good was purchased or invoiced (homeschool only)
      • The date the service was paid for or invoiced
      • The total amount paid or invoiced

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    Tips to Ensure Your Claims are Approved
    • Submit a proper receipt showing a payment made or an invoice for payment to be made to the provider
      • Claim the exact amount shown on the receipt or invoice. Rounded or mismatched totals will be rejected.
    • Avoid confusing the date of purchase, which is when you paid for the service (as shown on your receipt or invoice), and the date of service, which is when the service was completed.
     
    What SHOULD NOT be submitted to Merit as a claims receipt:
     
    • DO NOT attach a check stub as a receipt. A check stub does not qualify because it does not contain any of the information about the services rendered, the dates of service, the service provider or the person who received the services.
    • DO NOT submit a screenshot of an online shopping cart.
    • DO NOT submit a registration form.
    • DO NOT submit a bank statement.
    • DO NOT modify or write on the invoice items like the invoice number or the name of the camper. 
    • DO NOT create an invoice. Merit will connect with the service provider to confirm if the student on record was a customer
    • DO NOT submit a receipt that does not show a payment made by the family. Without confirmation that a payment was made, the claim cannot be reimbursed.

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    Can I submit a receipt if I purchased a good or service from a business or organization that is not listed in the Education Marketplace?

    Families are urged to use providers found in the Education Marketplace. Merit will review requests to approve providers not included in the Marketplace, but there is no guarantee that all providers will be approved to participate in the ACE program. Reimbursement for expenditures can be made only to providers reviewed and approved by Merit.

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    How do I submit my receipts or invoices and check my balance?
    Parents and guardians can view their Ohio ACE Educational Savings Account balance or submit a claim for reimbursement at app.aceohio.org or by downloading and using the Ohio ACE App for Android or iOS.  
    Log in to view the account balance on the home screen. Click “Submit a claim,” then complete the form and upload an image or pdf of the receipt or invoice. Users will receive a confirmation of submission in the app, then an email once the claim has been processed. Processing times may vary. Please allow 3-6 weeks after a correct claim submission for reimbursement, please view the claims process video..
     
    Please note that for each student, only one household can apply for an ACE account and submit claims.

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    Can a parent or guardian be paid for providing services to his or her child as a Qualified Education Service Provider?
    No. Claims submitted where the Service Provider is a parent, guardian or family member of the child who received the services are not reimbursable directly to the parent(s), guardian(s) or service provider.

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    Can funds be used for an activity that occurred prior to applying for the ACE Educational Savings Account?
    • Material goods must be purchased after April 25, 2022, if the student is using funds awarded in the 2021-22 school year. Material goods must be purchased after July 1, 2022 if the student is using funds awarded in the 2022-2023 school year. Purchases made before the start date of the program year will not be allowed.
    • For Services, the start date of activity is important. If an approved activity is paid for prior to the beginning of the program year (April 25, 2022 for the 2021-22 school year, July 1, 2022 for the 2022-23 school year), the expenditure can be reimbursed as long as the activity takes place during the program year. If you paid for an approved activity during the program year that takes place after the program year has ended, it also can be approved. Funds expire when the student graduates from high school.

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Additional Parent and Guardian General Questions

    Who qualifies as a member of a household?

    Household members include everyone age 18 and younger, as well as parent(s) or guardian(s).

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    Do college students who live in the household count towards the household members?

    Family members that attend college fulltime and are claimed as dependents on the parent(s) or guardian’s tax return may be include as a member of the household to determine eligibility.

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    Do grandparents who live in the house count towards the household members?

    No, they should not be added as a household member.

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    Do foster children who live in the house count towards the household members?
    Yes, if they are 18 years of age or younger.

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    What if the parent has joint custody and the child has two households, can there be two applications submitted, one for each household?

    No, families with joint custody should decide which household will submit the application before applying for the ACE Educational Savings Account program.

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    Will families awarded an ACE Educational Savings Account for 2021-2022 school year who did not use all the funds be able to use the remaining funds?
    The 2021-2022 program year began on April 25, 2022. Any unused funds can continue to be used until the funds are gone or the student has graduated from high school as long as the services were rendered or paid for during or after the start of the program year. Receipts for goods purchased during or after the start of the 2021-2022 program year also can continue to be submitted. The 2022-2023 program year began July 1, 2022. Funds awarded in the 2022-2023 school year can be used only for goods /services purchased July 1, 2022 and after.

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Qualified Education Service Providers (QESP)

    Who is Merit International, Inc. and why are they contacting me?
    • The Ohio Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) Educational Savings Account program provides funds to a student’s parent or guardian to use on various enrichment and educational activities. The program is being offered through a contract between Merit International, Inc. and the Ohio Department of Education.  
    • Merit International, Inc. may contact you to determine your interest in applying to be a Qualified Education Service Provider (QESP).

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    Who is eligible to be a Qualified Education Service Provider (QESP)?
    If your organization offers a qualifying program or service under the Ohio Revised Code, you may apply to be listed as a Qualified Education Service Provider (QESP). Your organization will be listed in the Merit International online Marketplace, where parents can search for your organization and the services you provide. 

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    What do I need to provide in the QESP application?
    Before completing an application, please note that you will need to submit information about yourself and your organization, including:


    Personal Information Required: 

    • Full contact information for yourself and your organization; 
    • Your government-issued ID (state-issued driver’s license or state-issued identification); and
    • Proof of employment (signed letter on organization’s letterhead).


    Organization Information Required: 

    • Your organization's license number, 501c3 number or TIN; 
    • A description of your organization and the services it provides;
    • The services permitted under the ACE program your organization will provide, a description of each and how the services will be delivered including face-to-face or live online delivery;
    • Grade levels to be served in the ACE program;
    • The region(s) your organization will serve in the ACE program;
    • Customer invoicing information;
    • Price range of services; and
    • Your organization’s logo (not required).

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Schools and Districts as Qualified Education Service Providers

    As a QESP, what services can schools and districts provide?
    • The services provided by a school or district must be supplemental to the services the entity is required to provide by statute and administrative rule.
    • Entities cannot charge for existing activities or services provided to students during the regularly scheduled school day.
    • The entity cannot charge for services for which it is already receiving funding.
    • If the entity has already committed to using state, local or federal funds for services allowed in the ACE program, the entity cannot charge ACE Educational Savings Accounts for those services.

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    How will you get paid for services if you are a QESP?
    Under the program, participating families will receive up to $500 per student to spend on afterschool programs and services. Parents can choose to pay you directly for services and submit receipts to Ohio ACE for reimbursement or submit your invoice for services to Ohio ACE for direct payment to you. Either way, you'll be helping Ohio families use their educational savings account to help further a child's education.

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Last Modified: 11/21/2022 4:44:41 PM