Arkansas - Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities

school choice

Arkansas – Succeed Scholarship Program

Arkansas – Succeed Scholarship Program

Arkansas’ Succeed Scholarship Program is the state’s first school choice program. This school voucher program was enacted in 2015 and launched for the use of families in 2016. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.

Program Fast Facts

  • 427 participating students (2019–20)

  • 14 percent of students eligible statewide

  • 34 participating schools (2019–20)

  • Average voucher value: $5,988 (2018–19)

  • Value as a percentage of public school per-student total spending: 60 percent

Program Details

Arkansas’s Succeed Scholarship Program Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Click the + symbols to learn more about this program’s details.

Arkansas provides private school vouchers to students in foster care and students with disabilities. Students who fall under either category must have previously attended public school, unless they are children of active-duty military families or they receive a waiver from their school district.

Student Funding

Each student’s voucher is funded at the public school foundation funding amount for the current school year ($6,899 in 2019–20), up to but not exceeding the amount of tuition and fees at the private school.

Student Eligibility

Students must be accepted to a private school that the state deems eligible to participate in the Succeed Scholarship Program and A) be in foster care,  B) have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or (C) have an individualized service plan in accordance with IDEA. Students that meet the aforementioned requirements must also either A) be dependents of active-duty military members, B) have been enrolled in an Arkansas public school for at least one year or C) receive a waiver from their home district superintendent. Beginning in the 2017–18 school year students in foster care became eligible, and the legislature made up to 20 vouchers available for those students. Also beginning in 2017–18, the program allowed the superintendent of a student’s resident school district to waive the requirement that the student previously attend public school for one year.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Eligibility for this program is too restrictive for Arkansas students. It should reflect the message of Little Rock: All students should be eligible for a scholarship to attend any school of choice. Further, the funding of the program is maxed at about two-thirds of total public school per-student spending. This cap should be raised to give families greater purchasing power and access to more schooling options.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Conditional
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: none, except students in foster care are capped at 20
  • Maximum voucher amount: $6,899
  • Testing Mandates: Nationally recognized norm-referenced test
  • *Limited to students with special needs and students in foster care

School Requirements:

  • Be accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education or an associate member of the Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association or another accrediting association that is recognized by the state board of education as providing services to individuals with severe disabilities or be in the process of becoming accredited
    • If not accredited within four years, schools are no longer eligible until they receive accreditation
  • Be in business for at least one year, provide a CPA-validated statement of fiscal solvency and insurance coverage, or provide a surety bond or letter of credit for the amount of scholarship funds for any quarter
  • Notify Arkansas Department of Education of the specific grade levels and services available to students with disabilities when applying to participate in the program
  • Comply with health and safety laws that apply to private schools
  • Be accountable to parents for meeting the educational needs of the student
  • Affirm under oath semi-annually that the student has been enrolled in and is attending and participating in the school
  • Employ teachers with no less than a bachelor’s degree
  • Comply with federal antidiscrimination provisions
  • Comply with existing laws governing private schools
  • Adhere to the tenets of the private school’s published disciplinary rules before expelling any student using a voucher

Governing Statutes

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 6-41-901 through 907

Legal History

No legal challenges have been filed against the program.

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