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Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program

The deadline to have a student enrolled in a private school through the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program was September 16, 2011 for the 2011 – 2012 school year. This requirement cannot be waived because it is specified in Georgia State Law and the State Board of Education is not permitted to waive law for individual students.

This Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program web page contains all information regarding the program. If you are interested in pursuing the possibility of a scholarship for next school year, read the information provided on this web page. It is also recommended that parents bookmark this webpage and check it for periodic updates.

Funds received through the GSNS Program can only be used to offset tuition and fees at a private school authorized by the State Board of Education to participate in the program. Funds cannot be used to offset the costs of out of district tuition, charter schools, or other options available under public school choice. Scholarship amounts for students generally range from $2,500 to $13,500 with an average amount of about $6,000.

There is no application. In May 2012, a new scholarship calculator will be posted on the web page for parents. The award sheet generated by the calculator is proof of a student's eligibility for the GSNS Program. A student must meet the following eligibility requirements if a parent is interested in having a child participate in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program during the 2012 - 2013 school year for the first time:

Student Eligibility Criteria 1 - The student´s parent(s) currently resides within Georgia and has been a Georgia resident for at least one year.
Student Eligibility Criteria 2 - The student has spent the entire immediate prior school year in attendance at a Georgia public school in grades K - 12.
Student Eligibility Criteria 3 - Student was enrolled and reported by a public school district(s) for funding purposes during the preceding October 2011 AND March 2012 full-time equivalent (FTE) program counts in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-2-160.
Student Eligibility Criteria 4 - The student was served at some point during the immediate prior school year under an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and was reported by a school district in either the October 2011 OR March 2012 FTE program counts OR in student record as a student receiving special education services.

Please note: At the end of the school year, students served by an IEP after the FTE submissions by public schools in March are updated to reflect that they are special education students. In mid-July the database for the scholarship calculator will be updated to include these students.

There are no exceptions to the eligibility criteria.

If a student meets the eligibility criteria for the GSNS Program; a parent 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.

Refer to the information in the For Parents box on the right side of the web page for more details about the GSNS Program.


For Parents
  Understanding the Program
  11-12 Continuing GSNS Participation
  11-12 Private School List
  Parent Responsibilities
  Choosing a School
  Transfer Information

For Schools
  10-11 Assessment Reporting Form
  10-11 Compliance Form
  School Financial FAQs
  Private School Responsibilities
  Check Return Form

Public School Choice
  Transfer Request Form

Special Needs Private Scholarship Calculator

  GSNS- Entering Data
  Preparing for the New School Year
  Webinar- GSNS Rule & Guidance


  State Law
  Complaint Form

  08-09 GSNS Report
  07-08 GSNS Report