McKay Scholarship – Requirements And How To Apply In 2023

There are so many scholarship opportunities for people living with disabilities, the McKay Scholarship is one of them. In this guide, you will learn about the scholarship program and how to apply for it.

About McKay Scholarship Program

The McKay Scholarship was created originally in the year 1999. It is a Scholarship program for students with disabilities to attend an eligible private or public school of their choice.

Parents are allowed to choose the best educational setting, either private or public for their child in Florida’s school choice programs. K-12 students that are documented are included in the list of students with disabilities covered by the McKay Scholarship.

The scholarship is for students with hearing impairment (which includes deafness), intellectual disability, visual impairment (including blindness), speech or language impairment, visual impairment, orthopedic impairment, emotion or behavioral disability, dual sensory disorder, and specific learning disability which includes but not limited to developmental aphasia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, developmental delay, traumatic brain injury, autism Spectrum disorder.

With the McKay Scholarship, options are made available for students with disabilities. The options include; attendance at public schools located within the district, attendance at a sectarian or nonsectarian eligible private school, and attendance at an eligible public school that is located in an adjacent district that provides good space and the services identified in the students 504 accommodations plan or individual education plan.


Like all other Scholarships, McKay Scholarship has its own specific eligibility requirement. These requirements will also be stated in this article.

Private schools are not mandated to participate in the McKay Scholarship, even though it is open to them. However, any private school that desire to participate in the McKay Scholarship program is allowed to participate, as long as the eligibility criteria set by the law are met.

McKay Scholarship Program To Transition To Family Empowerment Scholarship

In May 2021, house bill 7045 was signed into law. The bill expanded the eligibility in the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FEA) to include students with disabilities.

The effect of this is that students who are currently participating in the McKay Scholarship Program will join the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. This is under the Unique Abilities category (FES-UA).

With the intent of providing for students from families with limited financial means, the Family Empowerment Scholarship was expanded by the house bill 7045 to include two eligibility branches. These are the Family Empowerment Scholarship For Students With Unique Abilities and the Income Based Family Empowerment Scholarship.


Due to these developments, the law that created the McKay Scholarship Program is repelled as of the 30th of June 2023, and students participating in the McKay Scholarship will join the Family Empowerment Scholarship For Students With Unique Abilities.

About what the effect of the transit on the scholarship amount for each student will be, the house bill 7045 stipulated that the scholarship amount for students transitioning from McKay Scholarship Program to Family Empowerment Scholarship Program will not be less than the amount they received during the 2021-2023 year.

McKay Scholarship Requirements, Eligibility Criteria

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that the McKay Scholarship Program is for students with disabilities. However, this still does not take away the fact that there are specified eligibility criteria to be met to access the scholarship, even though the primary qualification is being a student with disability.

The following are some of the eligibility criteria. Only one is needed.

  • The student must have spent the previous school year attending a Florida Public School (such a student was enrolled and also reported for funding during the preceding October and February FTE surveys in Pre-K grade 12 by a Florida school district officer)
  • The student must have been enrolled and reported for funding by the Florida school for the blind and the deaf during the preceding October and February students membership surveys in kindergarten through grade 12.
  • The student is a dependent child or a foster child of the Armed Forces of the United States that transferred to Florida from out of state due to a parent’s permanent station orders change.

Further requirements of the McKay Scholarship includes:

  • The parent has in a manner that creates electronic or written record of the notification, notified the school district. This is done by filing intent on the website of the school. It should be done at least 50 days prior to the first Scholarship payment.
  • Acceptance for admission of the student to a McKay Scholarship Program eligible private school has been obtained by the parent.

How To Apply For McKay Scholarship

If your child is qualified for a McKay Scholarship and you want to apply for such, the first step to be taken is filing an intent to participate in the program prior to your withdrawal of your student from public school.

To do that, visit

After filing the intent to participate, for further information, you are responsible for contacting the school district on possible available school options.

If you are choosing the private school option, you are to;

  • Understand that the McKay Scholarship intent must be filed 60 days prior to the first Scholarship payment date.
  • Check your child’s eligibility status and intent.
  • You are to know the scholarship amount award to your child.
  • Be sure to keep your child in attendance at a private school that is participating in the McKay Scholarship Program for the whole school year, unless the child is excused for illness or some other good cause by the school.
  • You need to comply with and also have your child comply with the private school’s policies.
  • If you would like your child to participate in the statewide assessments, you would need to provide the needed transportation.

Determination Of Students’ Eligibility For McKay Scholarship Program

Once a McKay Scholarship Program intent is filed online, the McKay Administrator of the involved district has 30 calendar days to determine the eligibility of the student.


When the administrator enters the eligibility information, an automated email is sent to you. Also, you can check intent status by using the number that was provided when the claim was filed.

Final Words

The McKay Scholarship is one of the best scholarship opportunities available for persons living with disabilities. If you have a child who qualifies for it, do not hesitate to apply for it as soon as possible.

Feel free to go through other scholarship opportunities recommended for you below. Best of luck.

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