Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities
North Carolina allows students with special needs to receive vouchers to attend private schools. Vouchers are worth up to $3,000 per semester ($6,000 per school year) and may be used for private school tuition and special education services, including services provided to homeschooled students. A total of $3 million is available for vouchers for each fiscal year, and any leftover funds will carry over to the next fiscal year. To qualify, students must require an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and receive special education services on a daily basis. Additionally, students must have either been (1) enrolled in a North Carolina public school during the previous semester, (2) received special education services as a preschooler during the previous semester, (3) received a voucher under this program during the previous semester, or (4) be eligible for enrollment in kindergarten or first grade. The program launched in 2014.
North Carolina awards vouchers statewide to students whose families meet certain income requirements. The maximum voucher amount allowed is $4,200, not to exceed the private school's actual tuition and fees. The vouchers may be used for tuition, transportation, equipment, or any other items required by qualifying private schools. For the first year of the program, students are eligible to receive vouchers if they reside in a household that qualifies for the federal free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) program ($44,123 for a family of four in 2014-15). Students must also have been attending a public school during the 2014 spring semester. If the program is funded in future years, eligibility increases to households with incomes up to 133 percent of the FRL program, and kindergartners and first-graders qualify for vouchers without having to attend a public school. The program launched in 2014.