The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, which was established in 1999, grants scholarships to qualifying students with disabilities to attend their preferred public or private school.
K-12 students with disabilities include those who have been diagnosed with:
- an intellectual disability
- a speech or language impairment
- a hearing impairment, including deafness
- a visual impairment, including blindness
- a dual sensory impairment
- an orthopedic impairment, another health impairment, an emotional or behavioral disability
- a specific learning disability, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia
- a traumatic brain injury.
An eligible student with disabilities has several options available, including:
- Attendance at another public school within the district;
- Attendance at an eligible public school in an adjacent district that has space and provides the services identified in the student’s individual education plan or 504 accommodation plan; or
- Attendance at an eligible private, sectarian or nonsectarian, school
Any parent of a public school student with a disability who has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 accommodation plan may be eligible for a McKay Scholarship If the child meets the following qualifications:
- The student has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school (the student was enrolled and reported by a Florida school district for funding during the preceding October and February FTE surveys in Pre-K through grade 12), or
- The student was enrolled and reported for funding by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind during the preceding October and February student membership surveys in kindergarten through grade 12, or
- The student received services under the Specialized Instructional Services (SIS) program during the previous school year and has a current IEP developed by the local school board in accordance with State Board Rule or a 504 accommodation plan, or
- The student is a foster child or is a dependent child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who transfers to Florida from out of state due to a parent’s permanent change of station orders, and
- The parent has notified the school district in a manner that creates a written or electronic record of the notification (this is done by filing intent on the School Choice website) at least 60 days prior to the date of the first scholarship payment, and
- The parent has obtained acceptance for admission of the student to a private school that is eligible for the program.
Kindergarteners in their first year may be eligible.
A student with disabilities must have been enrolled and reported for funding in a Florida public school during the previous school year’s October and February Florida Education Finance Program surveys, or be receiving services through the Specialized Instructional Services program as reported by the Office of Early Learning. The student must also be 5 years old before September 1 of the school year in which the scholarship will be used.
On the www.floridaschoolchoice.org website, parents can submit their intent to participate in the McKay Scholarship Program by clicking on the McKay Scholarship link, selecting the “Parents” button, and then clicking on the “Apply for a McKay Scholarship” link on the quick navigation bar on the left-hand side of the screen.
Parents who require extra assistance should call the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice at 1-800-447-1636.
Your district’s McKay administrator has 30 calendar days to determine student eligibility after a McKay intent is filed online.
When the district administrator enters eligibility information, an automatic email is delivered to you.
The confirmation number issued when the intent was filed can also be used to check the status of the intent.
After the intent has been authorized, eligible children may be able to transfer to another public school or earn a scholarship to attend a participating private school.
McKay Scholarship Award Amount
The scholarship amount is equal to the amount the student would have received in the public school to which the student is assigned, or the cost of tuition and fees at the private school, whichever is less. (Please keep in mind that the scholarship amount may not be sufficient to pay all of your private school expenses. Any tuition or expenses not covered by the scholarship must be paid by the parents.)
Calculations are based on the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, as well as the district’s services. A matrix number is created and used to calculate the student’s funding level based on the type and frequency of services provided by the district.
The Florida state government sets the funding amounts for the various matrix levels each year, and they may fluctuate from year to year. At the beginning of July, the updated amounts for future school years are usually accessible.
The intent must be filed by July 3 and the student must be enrolled by August 2 to be eligible for the full scholarship amount (100 percent of your state-produced funds).