Does your child have a physical or learning disability? Are they struggling in their public school? They might be eligible for Mckay Scholarships.
The McKay Scholarship Program grants scholarships to students in Florida who have disabilities. The scholarship allows students to attend a public school of their choice. It also grants students a scholarship to attend a McKay approved private school.
Over 31,000 students receive scholarships every year. Students must be in K-12.
Who Qualifies for the McKay Scholarship
To qualify for a McKay Scholarship, a student must have spent the previous school year in a Florida public school. The student must also have an IEP or a 504 plan.
Students with the following disabilities are eligible for the McKay Scholarship:
- intellectual disabilities
- speech, hearing and visual impairments
- emotional or behavioral disabilities
- learning disabilities
- traumatic brain injuries
- developmental delays
Students must be over 5 years old by September 1 of the school year that the scholarship is being used.
The scholarship is valid until one of the following happens:
- The student returns to a public school
- The student graduates from high school
- The student reaches the age of 22
The scholarship doesn’t depend on a family’s income. If the student qualifies for the program, they receive the funds even if their family has a high income.
What is an IEP and a 504?
The IEP and 504 are both education plans that protect students with disabilities. They ensure that a student is learning in the least restrictive setting. For each plan, this looks slightly different.
The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) ensures that children with disabilities get specialized instruction and services at the school they are attending.
The 504 plan ensures that children with disabilities get appropriate accommodation at their school.
Which is Better?
Each plan serves different purposes. One plan might be better for one child while the other is better for another child.
Some students with disabilities do not need specialized instruction. These are students who can function well in a regular classroom setting.
In this sense, a 504 plan is more appropriate. A 504 plan helps remove barriers so that kids with disabilities can learn alongside other students in a regular classroom.
An IEP is a better option for students who require more support. These students need specialized instruction. With an IEP, students can get extra services like a special educational setting.
Is the McKay Scholarship Federally Funded?
The McKay scholarship is paid for by state funds. A student receives the state maximum amount or the cost of their private school tuition and fees. Four times a year, the private school receives funding on behalf of your child.
How Do You Use the McKay Scholarship?
After a student is approved for the scholarship, they have a few options. They can choose to attend a different public school. They may also choose to use the scholarship to attend a participating private school.
For private schools, see the list of participating McKay schools.
How to Apply to McKay Scholarships
Parents interested in the scholarship program must file intent to participate.
After a parent files intent, the district’s McKay administrator has 30 days to determine whether a student is eligible. Parents may check online to see the status of the decision.
Once students are enrolled in the program, parents don’t need to file a new intent.
There are two types of deadlines for the McKay scholarship. There is a deadline for filing intent and a deadline for enrolling your child in a private school.
You are able to file intent and enroll your student all year. But, when you do it determines the amount of funding your child receives.
To receive the full scholarship, parents must file intent by July 3. They also must enroll their child for the upcoming school year by August 2nd.
All students have the right to quality education. The McKay Scholarship program sets a great example for providing equal education for all students.
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