The McKay Scholarship Program allows eligible students with disabilities who are attending school full-time to attend a public or private school of their parent’s choice.
The Mackay scholarship was put in place during the late 1990s by John McKay, who was the President of the Florida State Senate at the time. At that time, there was an increase in the number of disabled children, and though Exceptional Student Education (ESE) was available, public schools still were not able to accommodate the needs of so many students. With the establishment of the McKay scholarship, parents were given the option of choosing the school that their disabled children would attend.ScholarshipBoard
If as a parent you have decided to withdraw your child from the public school they are attending for whatever reasons, and have decided to transfer them to another school using the McKay scholarship, then this article will guide you and give you relevant information on the process.
The McKay Scholarship is a special scholarship given only to students with disabilities. This scholarship was created by John McKay, who was once the President of the Florida State Senate. In the late 1990s, there was an increase in the number of students with disabilities in Florida. John McKay empathized with the parents of these disabled children, as he too had a grandchild who was disabled, and created a system where parents had a choice between using the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) or taking their children to another school.
Today, the McKay Scholarship is the most well-known scholarship for the disabled in America, and its goal is to create an academic environment unique and supportive for children with disabilities.
Parents can contact the school district for eligible public schools, but the parents will have to search for eligible private schools themselves.
You should be aware that although the majority of the private in Florida are involved in the McKay scholarship, not all are.
The amount of the scholarship is equal to the amount your child would have received if he/she was attending the public school they were assigned to, or the amount of the private school’s tuition and fees, whichever is less.
The scholarship lasts until your child graduate high school, returns to public school, or reaches the age of 22, whichever comes first.Mckay Scholarship Application 2024
Any additional fee that is to be paid that exceeds the scholarship funding amount is the responsibility of you as the parent(s).
No payment will be made if the McKay scholarship intent is not submitted before the deadline. So you need to be conscious of due dates and deadlines.
The Department of Education will start processing student scholarships at least four weeks before the payment due date to avoid complications due to unforeseen circumstances.
The scholarship funds will be sent to you through an individual cheque, in equal amounts four times a year. You will then have to mail these cheques to the administrative office of your child’s school. Payments are made on specific dates which are September 1, November 1, February 1st, and April 1st.
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There are several requirements, the most obvious being that the student applying has to have a disability. Your child will have to meet all the requirements below to be eligible for the scholarship.
- You must submit a 504 Accommodation Plan or Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child before they can be considered for the McKay scholarship program. This means that your child has to first have applied to their school, and then withdraw from it.
- Your child must have registered for the Florida education finance program, in October or February for grades k-12.
- Your child must have received special instruction for early learning while they were in pre-kindergarten.
- Your child must have attended pre-kindergarten and be at least four years of age.
- Your child may have attended the Florida School of Deaf-Blind in October or February.
Your child has to meet the above requirements before you can apply for the McKay scholarship. However, they may still be allowed to apply without the 504 accommodation or IEP, if they meet the criteria below:
- Are accompanied by a member of the United States Armed Forces and they transfer from a school in the country to a Florida school
- If they were raised by someone other than their parents.
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How to apply
Parents hoping to apply for the McKay scholarship for their child must first file an intention to apply for the scholarship program before withdrawing their child from their public school. This is extremely important as your child will not be eligible if they are not attending school full-time at the time of application. You will have to fill out the McKay scholarship intent at least two months before the first scholarship is due for payment.
You will need to contact the school district regarding the available public schools for their child. You are responsible for choosing a private school and ensuring that your child is eligible.
All applicants who are eligible for the scholarship will receive funding.
The deadline for the 2024 Lisa McKay Women in Radio Scholarship application is October 2, 2023. This is the deadline for all applicants, regardless of their time zone.
Contact the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice (IEPC) if you have any questions regarding Florida School Choice Programs.
Toll-Free Information Hotline: 1-800-447-1636
Mailing Address: Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice
Turlington Building – Florida Department of Education 325 W. Gaines Street, Room 1044 Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400.