Understanding the McKay Scholarship in Florida
Do you have a disabled child who is not satisfied with the current public school? The McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program offers funds to help you transfer your kid to another public or private school.
DoNotPay’s guide will help you understand all about the McKay Scholarship. The Florida Department of Education helps students and their parents cover education-related expenses worry-free!
The McKay Scholarship program provides financial aid to parents of eligible disabled students to help them cover the costs of transfer to participating private or public schools of their choice.
The McKay Scholarship doesn't impose income requirements—any K-12 student who meets the eligibility criteria can apply.
Parents of the students who have any of the following disabilities can apply for the McKay Scholarship:
- Intellectual and learning disabilities
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Emotional or behavioral disability
- Traumatic brain injury
- Developmental delays
- Speech, visual, language, and hearing impairments
To qualify for the McKay Scholarship, you must apply before withdrawing the child from the current public school. Your child should also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 accommodation plan and meet at least one of the requirements below:
- Enrolled and reported for funding in a Florida public school for at least one year prior to applying for the scholarship, with the exception of foster children or dependents of in-service military personnel who moved to the state on duty
- Attended Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and reported for funding in the previous October and February student membership surveys in kindergarten through grade 12
- Enrolled in Specialized Instructional Services (SIS) during the previous school year and has a current IEP or 504 accommodation plan produced by the local school board in line with State Board Rule
- Accepted to an approved private school
- Reported to have received Specialized Instructional Services by the Office of Early learning
You also need to apply for the scholarship at least 60 days before the first McKay scholarship payment.
To apply for the McKay Scholarship Program, follow these steps:
- Visit the Florida School Choice website
- Tap the McKay Scholarship link
- Scroll down and click on the Parents button
- Select Apply for a McKay Scholarship
- Follow the on-screen instructions to submit your application
If you are a foster parent, you can apply using the Foster Intent Waiver Request Form instead.
After completing these steps, you should receive a confirmation number that you can use to check the status of your application.
If you experience problems, you can call the Office of Independent Education at 1-800-447-1636.
The McKay administrator can take up to 30 days to determine the student’s eligibility. Once your application is approved, here's what you should do:
- If you choose the McKay Scholarship public school option, get in touch with your school district for further instructions
- If you opt for a private school, select and contact one from the Mckay Scholarship school list
The McKay scholarship has two deadlines:
- Intent filing deadline—the date by which you need to apply for the scholarship
- Enrollment deadline—the date by which you must enroll your child in a McKay participating school
Although you can apply at any time, the dates when you file your application and get the child enrolled determine the amount of funding your kid can get, as presented below:
|Application Date||Enrollment Date||Maximum Scholarship Amount the Student Can Recieve|
|July 3||August 2||100%|
|September 2||October 2||75%|
|December 3||January 2||50%|
|January 31||March 2||25%|
A student can lose eligibility for the program if their accommodation plan expires while attending a public school and if they:
- Re-enroll in a public school without the parents sending an advance notice to the district
- Graduate from high school
- Reach 22 years of age
A student is not eligible if they are:
- Taking part in a private tutoring program in accordance with s. 1002.43
- Enrolled in the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
- A beneficiary of a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship
- Enrolled in a home education program
- Attending a state-funded virtual school, correspondence school, or distance learning program, with more than two courses per year
Applying for multiple scholarships can increase your chances of winning one.
Many scholarship programs help disabled kids achieve their education goals, including:
- Gardiner Scholarship—for disabled children (from three-year-olds to up to 12th grade)
- Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award—$1,000 prize awarded to high school students under the age of 19 who have learning disabilities
- Optimize My Firm Scholarship for Students with Disabilities—a one-time $500 scholarship for high school seniors with physical disabilities
- Anne Ford Scholarships—$10,000 award for high school seniors with learning disabilities
Keep in mind that programs (especially those for high school seniors) may require submission of the following paperwork:
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- Finding scholarships for living expenses
- Understanding scholarship requirements
- Applying for scholarships
- Preparing for a scholarship interview
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