The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Utah - Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program

Enacted 2005 • Launched 2005 • Voucher

Most Utah students who have disabilities are eligible to receive vouchers to attend private school. However, participation is limited by the amount of money appropriated to the $3.75 million program fund.

Latest Stats (2012-13)

  • Students participating: 714
  • Schools participating: 40
  • Average voucher value: $4,733

Program Details

Student Funding
Vouchers are based on the state’s weighted pupil unit, an element of its school financing formula. Students who receive more than three hours of special education services per day get vouchers worth 2.5 times the weighted pupil unit, whereas students receiving fewer than three hours per day get vouchers worth 1.5 times the weighted pupil unit. In 2013-14, those values worked out to $6,648 and $3,989, respectively. The voucher may not exceed the private school’s actual tuition and fees.

Student Eligibility
Public school students between ages five and 21 identified as disabled under federal disability rights law are eligible to receive vouchers, as well as students with special needs in private schools that served students with disabilities prior to participating in the program. Participation is limited by the amount of money appropriated each year, with applications subject to random lottery.

Legal Developments
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: None
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: Statewide
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Voucher Cap: Conditional
• Testing Mandates: Yes

Governing Statutes
Utah Code §§ 53A-1a-701-10

Friedman Contact
Michael Chartier |

Related Research

10/30/2014 The School Starter Checklist: Meeting the Private Education Regulations in States with School Choice
9/30/2014 The School Voucher Audit: Do Publicly Funded Private School Choice Programs Save Money?
5/30/2014 Public Rules on Private Schools: Measuring the Regulatory Impact of State Statutes and School Choice Programs
2/5/2008 Grading School Choice: Evaluating School Choice Programs by the Friedman Gold Standard

Related News

9/30/2014 New report shows school vouchers saved $1.7 billion during first two decades
3/12/2014 National Review Online | Choosing to Learn
1/23/2014 U.S. voucher, school choice enrollment reaches record high
8/15/2013 Sharing your story in “The ABCs” can be as easy as one, two, three
8/6/2013 Stateline | Tax Dollars for Private School Tuition Gain in States
1/23/2013 “The ABCs of School Choice,” 2013 Edition, Now Available

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