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MDE announces plans to award special needs scholarships

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The Mississippi Departmet of Education announced plans to award Education Scholarship Accounts for the 2019-20 school year.

The ESA program provides scholarships to parents of students with disabilities who want to remove their child from a public school to seek educational services elsehwere. ESA recipients are eligible to be reimbursed up to $6,765 in 2019-20 for the cost of private educational services.

The legislative appropriation for 2019-20 provides for approximately 695 ESA accounts for that school year. MDE expects 415 accounts will be used by students returning from the 2018-19 school year. Applicants who would like to be considered for the remaining 280 ESA accounts must apply by June 20, 2019.

ESA accounts will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Priority will be given to families that have previously submitted an eligible application, but have not yet been awarded an ESA.

According to MDE, letters will be mailed to new ESA recipients upon approval, no later than July 1, 2019. Applications received after June 20 will be reviewed and considered for approval on a rolling basis in accourdance with the ESA law, until such time as 50% of the enrollment cap is reached.

To participate in the ESA program:

  • The applicant must be a Mississippi resident.
  • The student must have had an active Individualized Education Program(IEP) within five years of the date of application.
  • The parent must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of participation.

Parents who are accepted into the program will be reimbursed quarterly 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.

For information, visit www.mdek12.org/OSE/ESA or call the MDE Office of Special Education at 601-359-3498.

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