Mississippi

Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program

  • Voucher
  • Enacted 2012
  • Launched 2012

Mississippi has the nation’s only school choice program created exclusively for students with dyslexia. The program allows children with dyslexia to receive vouchers to attend accredited private and public schools that provide dyslexia therapy. On this page, learn more about the program’s funding, eligibility and restrictions.

We do not administer this program.

  • 1

    America’s Only Voucher Program Specifically for Students with Dyslexia

  • 218

    Participating Students (Fall 2020)

  • 2%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 6

    Participating Schools (Fall 2020)

  • $5,236

    Average Voucher Value (2020–21)

  • 61%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Mississippi’s Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

The maximum voucher amount is equal to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program base student cost, i.e., the per-student funding amount provided by the state to public schools. That amount is $5,829 in 2020–21.

Student Eligibility

Students must be in first through 12th grade and have been screened properly and diagnosed with dyslexia by a licensed psychometrist, psychologist, or speech language pathologist. Students are eligible if they attend a public school or if they attend a state-approved private school that “emphasizes instruction in dyslexia intervention.” The voucher is not available to fund home schooling, virtual schools or students in juvenile detention schools.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Mississippi’s voucher program for students with dyslexia helps hundreds of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do much more to expand educational opportunity.

Eligibility for the vouchers is limited to students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, making it one of the most restrictive educational choice programs in the nation. Only 3 percent of Mississippi students are eligible for a scholarship and only 0.1 percent of students statewide actually use one of Mississippi’s three educational choice programs (including the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program and the Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities).

The average voucher size is about $5,200, which is about three-fifths of the average expenditure per student at Mississippi’s district schools.

In order to expand access to educational choice, Mississippi policymakers should expand eligibility to all students.

Mississippi’s voucher program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Conditional
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Voucher Cap: $5,829
  • Testing Mandates: None
  • *Limited to students with special needs

School Requirements:

  • Be accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education as a special purpose nonpublic school
  • Use daily Orton-Gillingham-based therapy
  • Utilize a state-approved dyslexia screener provided by the district for enrollment purposes
  • Have Mississippi Department of Education-licensed dyslexia therapists for children diagnosed with dyslexia as a primary learning disability
  • Provide the state all documentation required for a student’s participation
  • Have school leadership trained in dyslexia
  • Provide parents with a written explanation of the student’s progress
  • Conduct background checks on teachers and other school personnel
  • Submit to annual audits of financial records by the state auditor

Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program State Groups

That Support School Choice

Empower Mississippi is an organization dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so all Mississippians can flourish, and their advocacy includes educational choice programs.