The Mississippi Department of Education is holding a lottery on July 14 to award 58 Education Scholarship Accounts for the upcoming school year.

The Education Scholarship Accounts provide funds to parents of students with disabilities who want to remove their child from a public school and seek educational services elsewhere. Recipients of the scholarship are eligible to be reimbursed up to $6,494 in costs next year.

The Legislature passed the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act in 2015. This school year, the law allows for up to 435 ESA accounts.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, 377 ESAs had been awarded to students returning from the last school year as of June 30, leaving a remainder of 58 available scholarships and 257 applications on the waiting list for this year. The law requires a lottery to be held to award remaining ESAs when the demand exceeds the supply.

To qualify for an ESA, the applicant must be a Mississippi resident; the student must have had an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) within the last five years; and the parent must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of participation.

For more information on the scholarships, click here.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.