Special Needs Scholarship Program

Program Information

  • V
  • Program Type: Voucher Program, Special Needs Program

Student Participation

  • Student must:
    • Have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or services plan in effect and was enrolled in a Wisconsin public school for the entire year immediately preceding school year
    • Have applied to attend one or more public schools in nonresident school districts under the state’s open enrollment program in school year 2011–12 or after, and have been denied enrollment by the nonresident school districts
    • Beginning in the 2018–19 school year, the prior year public school attendance and open enrollment denial requirements are eliminated
  • Be approved as a private school by the state superintendent or have received accreditation as of August 1 preceding the school term for which a scholarship is awarded
  • Admit eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to private schools
  • Hold a valid certificate of occupancy
  • Comply with the federal nondiscrimination requirements of 42 U.S.C. §200d
  • Conduct criminal background checks of employees
  • Submit annually to the state a financial audit conducted by a certified public accountant
  • File a surety bond with the state, if the school receives more than $50,000 in scholarship money, equal to 25 percent of the total amount and provide the state evidence of financial viability
  • Provide each applicant a profile of the school’s special education program, including methods of instruction and the qualifications of the teachers and others who will be providing special education and related services
  • Implement the student’s most recent IEP or services plan, as modified by agreement between the school and the parents
  • Provide a record of the implementation of the student’s IEP or services plan, including an evaluation of the child’s progress to the school board in which the student resides
  • Report regularly to parents on the student’s progress
  • Provide 875 hours of instruction each school year

Data Update

Scholarships Awarded
Schools Participating
2017-18 Expenditures


Scholarship Cap
- $12,000 (school year 2016–17)
- Beginning in school year 2017–18, voucher payments will increase by a percentage equal to the percentage increase in general school aid to Wisconsin public schools
Enrollment Cap
- None
Program Funding
- None specified in the law