CAPTION: Carson Smith with his mom.
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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.
According to the 2008 Legislative Audit,
"[The] Carson Smith Scholarship is meeting its program goals."
Key findings include:
*Number of scholarship recipients updated by Utah State Office of Education, June 2009
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.
Read inspiring stories from students who have used the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarships.
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.
American Heritage at South Jordan
Autism Behavior Treatment Center
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School
Carmen B. Pingree Center
Clear Horizon's Academy
Jewish Community Center
Juan Diego Catholic High School
Kearn's - St. Ann's School
Layton Christian Academy
Madeline Choir School
Montessori at Riverton
New Hope Academy
Our Lady of Lourdes
Realms of Inquiry
St. Francis Xavier Catholic School
St. John the Baptist Middle School
St. Joseph Catholic High School
St. Olaf School
St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School
American Heritage School
Caritas Academy of Classical Christian Education
Children's Christian School
Dancing Moose Montessori School
Evergreen Montessori Academy
JE Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School
Judge Memorial Catholic High School
Liahona Preparatory Academy
The McGillis School
Montessori Learning Center
New Horizons Academy
St. Andrews Catholic School
St. John the Baptist Elementary
St. Joseph Elementary School
St.Marguerites Catholic School
St. Sofia School
Wasatch Christian School
The scholarship comes in two amounts based on the amount of special education services your child would qualify for under IEP guidelines.
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)
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)
In order to qualify for the scholarship, a student must meet the following criteria:
Be a Utah resident.
Be of K-12 school age (5-21).
Apply and be conditionally accepted by an eligible private school.
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
- Intellectual disability
- Traumatic brain injury
- Other health impairment*Developmental delay is applicable to children age 5 to 8.
If your child is eligible to receive the scholarship, the next step is to submit the one-page Parent Application.
Depending on your current school situation, you'll need to submit the Parent Application to one of two possible places:
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.
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.
|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.
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.
If you have any questions, please contact us:
Parents for Choice in Education Foundation
352 S. Denver Street #307
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Or contact the Utah State Office of Education:
Carson Smith Scholarship Office Specialist
Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South(801) 538-7612
PO Box 144200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200
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.