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MDE News

MDE Releases Application for Special Needs Scholarship Program

by Jun 18, 2015


Carey M. Wright, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Education

Office of Communications & Legislative Support
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communications *601-359-3706 *FAX:  601-359-3033
Jean Cook, Communications Specialist *601-359-3519


NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: June 18, 2015

MDE Releases Application for Special Needs Scholarship Program

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education has released the application for parents of students with disabilities who want to participate in the special needs scholarship program. Applications will be accepted beginning July 1 when the law becomes effective.

Parents are encouraged to submit their applications during the July 1-10 window to ensure they are notified of their application status before school starts in August. The MDE will continue to accept applications until all scholarships are awarded.

Starting on July 1, applications will be reviewed for eligibility on a first-come, first-served basis until 50 percent of the annual enrollment limits are reached. All remaining eligible applicants will be placed on a waiting list, and a random selection process will then be used to choose the recipients of the remaining scholarships. The MDE will announce a deadline before selecting the remaining scholarships.

All parents will be notified as quickly as possible whether their application was accepted or denied, even though state law allows for 21 days for a response. 

“We want to ensure that eligible students are awarded scholarships before school starts in August so that their education is not interrupted,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

The 2015 Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act will provide up to $6,500 for educational savings accounts (ESA) for parents of students with disabilities who want to remove them from a public school to seek educational services elsewhere. To participate in the program:

  • the applicant must be a Mississippi resident;
  • the student must have had an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) within the last 18 months; and
  • the parent must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of participation.

Parents will be reimbursed for expenses quarterly (subject to availability of funds) after submission of a reimbursement request with proper documentation of expenses incurred.  Funds can also be paid quarterly directly to an educational service provider if approved by the parent.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate Appropriation and Education committees directed the MDE to establish the total amount of each ESA for 2015-2016 at $6,500. This will result in 434 ESA accounts.

Resources:

ESA Application

MDE ESA Flyer

 

 

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