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The Carson Smith Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship is a state-funded program that provides private school scholarships to K-12 students with disabilities.  The Scholarship was signed into law on March 10, 2005 by Governor Jon Huntsman and is administered by the Utah State Office of Education.

Audit Declares Program a Success

According to the 2008 Legislative Audit,
"[The] Carson Smith Scholarship is meeting its program goals."

Key findings include:

  • 100% of parents who have used the program feel it should continue. (This includes parents who have put their kids back in public schools)
  • 89% of parents say their child's academic performance has improved while at a Carson Smith school.
  • 91% say their private school provides services specifically for their child’s disability.  Only 21% felt the same about their former public school.
  • 900 students have received a Carson Smith Scholarship as of last school year.*
  • Read the full audit
*Number of scholarship recipients updated by Utah State Office of Education, June 2009

Notification to Parents

A 2009 amendment to state law requires public schools to notify parents of children with an IEP about the Carson Smith Scholarship annually in writing. Also, students receiving an IEP for the first time are to be notified within 30 days.

Featured Scholarship Students

Read inspiring stories from students who have used the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarships.  

Eligible Private Schools

Below is a list of private schools that are eligible to receive Carson Smith scholarships in the 2013-14 school year.

If your preferred private school is not on this list, please contact that school’s administrators and encourage them to apply for Carson Smith eligibility. Schools can get info about becoming Carson Smith eligible here.  Applications for Private Schools (not parents or students) are due by May 1st of each year.


List of Eligible Private Schools, 2013-2014 School Year

American Heritage at South Jordan
11100 S Redwood Rd
South Jordan UT 84095
Elisa Yorgason 801-254-3882
K-12 (Jordan District)

Autism Behavior Treatment Center
12222 S 1000 E #3
Draper UT 84020
Michelle Bowman 801-571-5727
K-6 (Canyons District)

Blessed Sacrament Catholic School
1745 E 9800 S
Sandy UT 84092
Barbara McDermott 801-571-5311
K-6 (Canyons District)

Carmen B. Pingree Center
780 S Guardsman Way
Salt Lake City UT 84109
Dawn Armstrong 801-581-0194
K-12 (Salt Lake City District)

Clear Horizon's Academy
5455 N River Run Dr
Provo UT 84604
Molli Craghead 801-437-0490
K-6 (Provo District)

Elizabeth Academy
154 E Myrtle Ave#100
Murray UT 84107
Maria Gurrister 801-281-4848
K-3 (Murray District)

Jewish Community Center
2 North Medical Drive
Salt Lake City UT 84113
Mary Ogan 801-581-0098
PK (Salt Lake City District)

Juan Diego Catholic High School
300 E 11800 S
Draper UT 84020
Susan McNulty 801-984-7636
9-12 (Canyons District)

Kearn's - St. Ann's School
430 E 2100 S
Salt Lake City UT 84115
Suzanne Rainwater 801-486-0741
K-8 (Granite District)

Layton Christian Academy
2352 E Highway 193
Layton UT 84040
Karen Miller 801-771-7141
K-12 (Davis District)

Madeline Choir School
205 First Ave.
Salt Lake City UT 84103
Jill Baillie 801-323-9850
K-8 (Salt Lake City District)

Montessori at Riverton
12765 S 1400 W
Riverton UT 84065
Debbie Hildreth 801-253-4000
K-8 (Jordan District)

New Hope Academy
343 E Main Street
American Fork UT 84003
LauraLee Norton 801-440-8475
K-12 (Alpine District)

Our Lady of Lourdes
1065 E 700 S
Salt Lake City UT 84102
Sue Patillo 801-364-5624
K-8 (Salt Lake City District)

Realms of Inquiry
1140 S 900 E
Salt Lake City UT 84105
Karri VanTongeren 801-467-5911
7-12 (Salt Lake City District)

Rowland Hall
720 S Guardsman Way
Salt Lake City UT 84108
Margaret Rose 801-355-7485
K-12 (Salt Lake City)

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School
4501 W 5215 S
Kearns UT 84118
Patrick Reeder 801-966-1571
K-8 (Granite District)

St. John the Baptist Middle School
300 E 11800 S
Draper UT 84020
James Markosian 801-984-7614
6-8 (Canyons District)

St. Joseph Catholic High School
1790 Lake Street
Ogden UT 84401
Joanna Wheelton 801-394-1515
9-12 (Ogden District)

St. Olaf School
1793 S Orchard Drive
Bountiful UT 84040
JoAnn Emery 801-295-5341
K-8 (Davis District)

St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School
1385 E Spring Lane
Salt Lake City UT 84117
Mark Longe 801-277-6702
K-8 (Granite District)



American Heritage School
736 N 1100 E
American Fork UT 84403
Trudy Camp 801-642-0055
K-12 (Alpine District)

Arches Academy
280 S 400 E
Orem UT 84097
Annette Warnick 801-273-5480
PK-8 (Alpine District)

Caritas Academy of Classical Christian Education
115 N 300 N
Washington UT 84780
Joyce Carlin 435-986-1440
K-12 (Washington District)

Children's Christian School
3138 W 7000 S
West Jordan UT 84084
Arlene Farr 801-967-5754
K-8 (Granite District)

Dancing Moose Montessori School
4428 Links Drive
West Valley UT 84120
Joyce Sibbett 801-968-0100
PK-2 (Granite District)

Evergreen Montessori Academy
5875 S Adams Ave Pkwy
South Ogden UT 84405
Amy Van Vliet 801-479-7799
K-6 (Weber District)

JE Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School
2335 Redondo Ave
Salt Lake City UT 84108
Holly Dean 801-486-3197
K-8 (Salt Lake City District)

Judge Memorial Catholic High School
650 S 1100 E
Salt Lake City UT 84012
Sylvia Platero 801-517-2178
9-12 (Salt Lake City District)

Kids World
1328 W Stern Drive
Salt Lake City UT 84123
Brandon Francis 801-243-4991
K-4 (Granite District)

Liahona Preparatory Academy
2464 W 450 S
Pleasant Grove UT 84062
Sue Squires 801-785-7850
K-12 (Alpine District)

The McGillis School
668 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City UT 84102
Melanie Battistone 801-583-0094
K-8 (Salt Lake City District)

Montessori Learning Center
310 S 400 W
Lindon UT 84042
Ali Dances 801-796-7672
K-8 (Alpine District)

New Horizons Academy
575 N Main
Brigham City UT 84302
Karen Koehler 435-734-0551
2-12 (Box Elder District)

Oxford Academy
1259 E Draper Pkwy
Draper UT 84020
Millicent Jacobson 801-501-0228
K-12 (Canyons District)

Reid School
2965 E 3435 S
Salt Lake City UT 84109
Ethna Reid 801-466-4214
K-9 (Granite District)

St. Andrews Catholic School
11835 S 3600 W
Riverton UT 84065
Louise Herman 801-984-7500
K-8 (Jordan District)

St. John the Baptist Elementary
300 E 11800 S
Draper UT 84020
Cynthia Burchett 801-984-7180
K-5 (Canyons District)

St. Joseph Elementary School
2980 Quincy Ave
Ogden UT 84403
Nancy Essary 801-393-6051
K-8 (Ogden District)

St.Marguerites Catholic School
15 S 7th Street
Tooele UT 84074
Deanna Bell 435-882-0081
K-8 (Tooele District)

St. Sofia School
5341 Highland Drive
Salt Lake City UT 84117
Dana Easton 801-424-1297
K-6 (Granite District)

Wasatch Christian School
585 39th Street
South Ogden UT 84403
Dennis Long 801-392-5784
K-6 (Weber District)


Scholarship Amounts

The scholarship comes in two amounts based on the amount of special education services your child would qualify for under IEP guidelines.

  • $4,224 per year  

If your child qualifies for less than 3 hours of special education services per day, the scholarship will be worth a maximum of $4,224 per year. 
(1/2 day Kindergarten $2,323)
  • $7,040 per year 

If your child qualifies for 3 or more hours of special education services per day, the scholarship will be worth a maximum of $7,040 per year. 

(1/2 day Kindergarten $3,872)

Info for Interested Schools

To find out how private schools can become eligible to accept to students using the Carson Smith Scholarship, click the "Read More" button below.

How to Qualify

In order to qualify for the scholarship, a student must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a Utah resident.

  2. Be of K-12 school age (5-21).

  3. Apply and be conditionally accepted by an eligible private school.

  4. Be eligible for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) from the local school district. A current IEP is not required.

To be eligible for an IEP, a K-12 student must have a disability covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:
  • Speech or language disability
  • Hearing disability
  • Visual disability
  • Orthopedic disability
  • Developmental delay*
  • Specific learning disability
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Autism
  • Intellectual disability
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Other health impairment 
*Developmental delay is applicable to children age 5 to 8.

Frequently Asked Questions

To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click the "Read More" button below.

How to Apply

If your child is eligible to receive the scholarship, the next step is to submit the one-page Parent Application.

Where to submit your Parent Application

Depending on your current school situation, you'll need to submit the Parent Application to one of two possible places:

  1. If your child currently attends a public school, you must submit your Parent Application to the special education department of the school district or charter school where your student is currently enrolled.
  2. If your student is not enrolled in a public school, submit the application to the Special Education Department of the school district in which the private school your student will be attending is geographically located.

Helpful Links

Other Sections

PCE Flyers

Below are links to PDF versions of PCE publications about the Carson Smith Scholarship

The Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship is a SuccessLearn about the successes of the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship.


About the Carson Smith Special Needs ScholarshipLearn the basics about applying for a Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarships.


Application Deadlines


Since the Carson Smith Scholarship is awarded quarterly, parents may submit applications throughout the year. However, in order to receive the full scholarship amount, you must submit your application by July 1st!

The following timetable illustrates the application deadlines and the subsequent date that the first scholarship payment will be sent to your child’s school.

Application Deadlines

If your application is submitted on or before this date... Then your first scholarship payments will be received by...
And you will receive the following portion of the scholarship in the first year:
July 1st September 1st Full amount
September 1st November 1st 3/4 amount
December 1st February 1st 1/2 amount
February 15th April 15th 1/4 amount

Explanation for using the table above:
If you applied for the scholarship by the first deadline (July 1st), then you would get the full scholarship amount starting at the beginning of the school year.  If you missed the first deadline but got your application in by September 1st, then you would receive 3/4 of the full scholarship amount with the first payment being sent to you by November 1st.

Scholarship Duration

Once awarded the Carson Smith Scholarship, a student will receive the scholarship for three years, provided that the student continues to meet eligibility requirements and continues to be enrolled in an eligible private school.

After three years, an assessment team, consisting of the student’s parents, classroom teacher, and special education personnel from the student’s private school and school district, will decide whether the student is still eligible for the scholarship. The assessment team may extend the scholarship in three-year increments until the student graduates from high school or turns 22, whichever comes first. 

Contact Info for Help

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Judi Clark
Parents for Choice in Education Foundation
j This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

352 S. Denver Street #307
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

(801) 710-2345


Or contact the Utah State Office of Education:

Barbara Bickmore
Carson Smith Scholarship Office Specialist
Utah State Office of Education

250 East 500 South
PO Box 144200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200

(801) 538-7612


Please do not send your Parent Application for the Carson Smith Scholarship to Parents for Choice in Education.  They should be sent to the special education department of the school district or charter school where your child attends school.

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