Academic Opportunity of Arizona Awards $1.6M in Tuition Assistance to More than 200 Youth Across Arizona

Alan, an AOA funded student currently attending Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix

Academic Opportunity of Arizona (AOA), a nonprofit school tuition organization based in Phoenix, has awarded more than $1.6M in scholarships to 209 students throughout the state, allowing them to further their education at a private school partner of AOA. 

Founded in 2014, Academic Opportunity of Arizona’s mission is to help close the gap in education access for children living with disabilities and experiencing financial insecurity. Since its inception, the organization has gifted more than $6.4 million in scholarships to benefit more than 750 students.   

“We believe that every child, regardless of disability or financial standing, should have opportunity to receive an education that suits their needs best and allows them to blossom,” said Chad Bays, CEO and co-founder of Academic Opportunity of Arizona. “For some that means learning in a private school setting and we feel blessed to have built partnerships with some fantastic institutions in our state that can support the needs of these students and help them find their path to excel in their education.” 

Offering multi-year, full-tuition scholarships through corporate and individual tax credit donations, AOA partners with more than 60 schools statewide to provide hundreds of students access to a comprehensive education. To receive scholarships, applicants must provide proof of disability or financial hardship and in some cases qualify for both. Parents specify which school they would like their child to attend and once selected, AOA submits the tuition directly to that school.

Bays founded the school tuition organization after watching his mother dedicate more than 30 years to early childhood education, instilling in him the same passion and motivation for education she provided her students. Prior to founding AOA, Bays spent more than a decade in the corporate world of real estate, insurance, and finance.  

“Like so many who are called to start up nonprofits, giving up my corporate job seemed crazy,” Bays said. “But from an early age, my mother instilled in me the importance of education for all and so Academic Opportunity of Arizona was born. We are so thankful to our corporate partners for their willingness to dedicate their tax credit dollars to our organization, so we can continue to be able to help hundreds of students each year.”

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