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McKay Scholarship Information

What is the McKay Scholarship? 

The John M. McKay Scholarship Program allows parents of students with disabilities to choose the best learning environment for their children. 

The parent of a Florida public school student who is dissatisfied with the student’s progress may request a McKay Scholarship to enroll in and attend a private school or choose another public school that better suits the student’s needs. 

Eligible students with disabilities may: 

  -Remain at their assigned school
  -Attend another public school
  -Attend a public school in an adjacent district, or
  -Attend a participating private school. 

The scholarship is equal to the amount of state generated funding the student would have received or the cost of the private school’s tuition and fees, whichever is less. If parents choose to enroll their child in a private school, McKay funds will be mailed directly to the private school four times a year. The parents will then endorse the payment over to the private school. Parents - please remember that the financial stability of any educational facility and program is essential to the overall welfare of its students. Therefore, you should always be sure to endorse the check for your child promptly. 

The McKay Program puts the power back into the parent’s hands. Schools are not “one size fits all.” Parents should look into all of their options and choose which best suits the needs of their individual child. 

McKayScholarship.com firmly believes that the McKay program is not about public vs. private school. It is about each and every individual child. It is about the parents of those children making the best possible choice for their child. 

How much are the McKay Scholarships? 

Scholarships range from $5,500 to up to $22,000 a year, depending on the level of your child’s diagnosed disability, as indicated by the IEP. The amount of the scholarship is determined by tests that indicate where your child needs support and by a school-based team’s evaluation of your child’s needs. 

Who is eligible for a McKay Scholarship? 

Every student who has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is eligible for a McKay Scholarship and caregivers of every student who has an IEP are entitled to receive a McKay Scholarship. 

To be eligible, a student must have an IEP and be enrolled in grades K through 12 in a Florida public school from October 1 through March 1. 

Students receiving a McKay scholarship and attending a state-recognized John McKay private school automatically retain their scholarship every year until they return to their public school, graduate from high school or reach the age of 22. 

How do I obtain a McKay Scholarship? 

You may file your intent to participate in the McKay Scholarship program by logging on to the Florida School Choice web site at www.floridaschoolchoice.org.You cannot file your intent by phone, but you can call the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice at 1-800-447-1636 if you have questions. 

When do I have to file?

Several deadlines occur throughout the year, however, the earlier you file, the more scholarship money you will receive. Most parents will file their intent to access a McKay Scholarship by July 3 before the beginning of a new school year in order to receive the full scholarship. However, you can file by subsequent deadlines of Sept. 2, Dec. 3 and Jan. 31 and still receive McKay funds. 

Do I have the right to see my child’s public school records? 

Absolutely. As a caregiver of a child with a disability, you have the legal right to see any and all records about your child – even if your child is 18 or older. Your child’s public school or school district cannot keep your child’s records from you for any reason. However, some parents tell us school districts are not always willing to provide these records. 

Do I have the right to meet with my child’s public school to discuss his or her diagnosis? Can I bring an expert with me if I want to? 

Absolutely. You have every right to a meeting with a representative from your child’s school if you want one. And, if you wish, you have every right to be accompanied by an advocate who can help you obtain information and talk to school administrators to ensure your child’s diagnosis is complete and accurate. Many parents find that their child’s disabilities are not properly diagnosed, and, therefore, their child does not receive all the services schools are required by law to provide.

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