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MDE Announces Mid-Year Lottery for Special Needs Scholarship Program Applications


For Immediate Release: December 4, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education announced today that it will hold the mid-year lottery for Education Scholarship Accounts (ESA) on December 13. The lottery will award 41 ESAs for the 2018-19 school year that were forfeited by families who opted not to participate in the program.
Established by the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act of 2015, the ESA program provides scholarships to parents of students with disabilities who want to remove their child from a public school to seek educational services elsewhere.
The Legislature provided funding for approximately 428 ESA accounts for the 2018-19 school year. Most ESAs were issued to students returning from the 2017-18 school year.
All eligible applications received for the 2018-19 school year that have not yet been awarded will be included in the lottery. There are currently approximately 202 applications on the waiting list for 2018-19. The law requires the MDE to hold a lottery to award ESAs when the demand exceeds the supply.

Only complete, eligible applications received by December 11 will qualify for the lottery. Letters will be mailed to awardees on December 14.
ESA recipients are eligible to be reimbursed up to $6,594 in 2018-19 for the cost of private educational services.

To participate in the ESA program:

  • the applicant must be a Mississippi resident;
  • the student must have had an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) within five years of the date of application; and
  • the parent must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of participation.

Parents who are accepted into the program will be reimbursed for expenses quarterly after submission of a reimbursement request with proper documentation of expenses incurred.  Funds can also be paid quarterly directly to an educational service provider if approved by the parent.

For more information, visit or call the MDE Office of Special Education at 601-359-3498.


Media Contact:

Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist