The Florida Department of Education is glad to announce the McKay Scholarship, which allows parents to choose the best educational setting for their child.  The scholarship aims to provide information and assistance to promote successful outcomes for students, families, institutions, and communities.

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) is the state education agency of Florida, and its goal is to increase the proficiency of all students within one seamless, efficient system. Ultimately, they provide children with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills through learning opportunities and research valued by students, parents, and communities.

What Is The McKay Scholarship Program?

The McKay Scholarship was created in 1999 and it allows students with disabilities in grades K-12 to attend the public or private school of their choice.

The student must be  documented as having 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, an emotional or behavioral disability; a specific learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; a traumatic brain injury; a developmental delay; or autism spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, students who are listed as hospital or homebound are not eligible for this scholarship.

Likewise, children who are considered “gifted only” are not allowed to apply for the program. If your child falls under this category, reach out to your local school district for other options such as a magnet school, virtual school, or charter school.

Eligibility:

Any parent of a public school student with a disability who has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 accommodation plan may receive a McKay Scholarship if the student meets the following requirements:

  • The student has spent the previous school year in a Florida public school—meaning 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.
  • The student was enlisted and reported for financing by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind during the foregoing October and February student participation surveys in kindergarten through grade 12.
  • The student acquired services under the Specialized Instructional Services (SIS) program during the past school year and has an existent IEP developed by the regional school board in accordance with State Board Rule or a 504 accommodation plan.
  • The student is a dependent child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who transmits to Florida from out of state due to a parent’s concrete change of station orders, and
  • The parent has informed the school district in a manner that constructs a written or electronic record of the notification (this is done by filing intent on the School Choice website) at least 60 days before the date of the primary scholarship payment, and
  • The parent has gained permission for admission of the student to a private school that is qualified for the program.

How long does a McKay Scholarship Last?

The McKay Scholarship lasts until the student goes back to a public school, graduates from high school, or turns 22 years old—whichever comes first. A child who’s in private school can return public school via McKay Scholarship public school option. However, the parents of the student should notify the district beforehand.

The local school district determines which public schools have availability after the request is submitted. If a child chooses this option, they must regain eligibility by being in the school years October and February student survey before they can go back to the private school option.

The McKay Scholarship: Who’s Responsible For Transportation?

If parents opt for a public school that’s within the school board’s plan, the district is responsible for providing transportation. On the other hand, if the parent picks a public school that’s not in the school board’s choice plan or in an adjacent district, the parents are responsible for transportation. Likewise, if the parents pick the private school option, they have to supply transportation for the student.

How to Apply:

Applicants are requested to go through the given link http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice in order to apply for McKay Scholarship.

Award Amount:

The amount of the scholarship is the same as the amount the student would have received in the public school to which the student is assigned or the cost of the private school’s tuition and fees— whichever is less. However, the award funding might not cover the complete amount of private school tuition. Parents are responsible for any fees above the scholarship amount.

The calculations for funding are based on the students IEP or 504 Plan and the services given by the local district. Based on the frequency and type of services rendered by the district, a matrix number is created to determine the student’s funding level.

The amount of funding is determined by the Florida state government and could potentially change year to year. The updated figures for the future school years are generally available at the beginning of July.

Application Deadline:

For possible eligibility for the full scholarship amount (100% of your state-generated funding) the intent needs to be submitted by July 3, and the student must be enrolled by August 2.

  • For 75% – File by September 2, enroll by October 2.
  • For 50% – File by December 3, enroll by January 2.
  • For 25% – File by January 31, enroll by March 2.

How Are The Scholarship Payments Made?

The McKay Scholarship payments are distributed equally four times a year on September 1st, November 1st, February 1st, and April 1st. The payment is made by a check that’s payable to the student’s parent or guardian. It’s mailed by the DOE to the private school chosen by the parent and deposited into the school’s account. The parent must exclusively endorse the check for it to be deposited into the private school’s account. Students are eligible for payment based on verification of their admission acceptance and their continuous enrollment and attendance at the private school.

Link for more Information:

http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/mckay/

Contact Information:

If you have any more query related to the given scholarship contact: Phone: 850-245-0505 / Commissioner-at-fldoe.org

Final Thoughts On The McKay Scholarship

Having a child with a disability is challenging in itself, but it’s nice to know there’s help available. If you’re in the state of Florida, this is a great opportunity to get additional funding for your kid. Programs like the McKay Scholarship are designed to assist students with disabilities because they understand the importance of education for every child. Each student deserves a bright future and this scholarship is one of the keys to making it happen.

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