The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program is a school choice program available for special needs students attending Georgia public schools who are served under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Click on the Additional Resources link on the right side of this webpage and read the information provided about the GSNS Program. Parents new to the program must read Understanding the Program which explains the public and private school choice options available. Parents of students continuing in the private school choice option must read Continuing Participation which explains how to continue a student’s eligibility.
To newly qualify for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program for the upcoming school year a student must meet ALL the following requirements:
- Student Eligibility Criteria 1- A student have must a parent/guardian who currently lives in Georgia and has been a resident for at least one calendar year.
- Student Eligibility Criteria 2- A student was enrolled and completed the 2016 – 2017 school year in a Georgia public school in grades kindergarten through twelfth.
- Student Eligibility Criteria 3- A student was reported as attending a Georgia public school by a school district(s) during mandatory student counts conducted in October 2016 and March 2017.
- Student Eligibility Criteria 4 - A student does not need to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for the entire school year to qualify for the GSNS Program. A student must have received special education services at some point during the 2016 – 2017 school year through an IEP. A student must be reported by a school district(s) in either the October 2016 OR March 2017 student counts OR in final student record as a student receiving special education services by the end of the 2016 – 2017 school year.
At the end of the school year, school systems update student records for students served by an IEP after the March count to reflect that they are special education students. By mid-July the database for the scholarship calculator is updated to include these students.
If a student meets the eligibility criteria for the GSNS Program; a parent/guardian has the right to request a transfer from a student’s current public school to:
- Another public school within their district of residence; or
- Another public school district outside their district of residence; or
- One of the three state schools for the blind or deaf; or
- A private school authorized to participate in the GSNS Program. Funds received through the GSNS Program can only be used to pay for tuition and fees at a private school authorized by the State Board of Education to participate in the program.
Funds cannot be used to pay the costs of out of district tuition, charter schools, or other options available under public school choice.