Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program
- Enacted 2013
- Launched 2013
The Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program is the nation’s only voucher program designed only for students with speech-language therapy needs. Students with qualifying special needs can apply for a voucher to help them attend a private school that offers speech-language therapy. Learn more about the program, including funding and eligibility, on this page.
We do not administer this program.
America’s Only Voucher Program for Students with Speech Therapy Needs
Participating Student (Fall 2020)
of Students Eligible Statewide
Participating School (Fall 2020)
Average Voucher Value (2020–21)
Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending
Mississippi’s Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program Participation
The maximum voucher amount is equal to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program base student cost, i.e., the funding amount provided by the state to public schools. That amount is $5,829 in 2020–21.
Students must be in grades K–6 and have been screened properly and diagnosed with speech-language impairment. Students are eligible if, during the previous school year, they attended a public or state accredited special-purpose school that “emphasizes instruction in speech-language therapy and intervention.” The voucher is not available to fund homeschooling, virtual schools or students in juvenile detention centers.
EdChoice Expert Feedback
Mississippi’s voucher program for students with special needs helps only a handful of students access schools that are the right fit for them. Mississippi policymakers could do much more to expand educational opportunity.
Eligibility for the vouchers is limited to students in grades K–12 who have been diagnosed with a speech-language impairment, making it one of the most restrictive educational choice programs in the nation. Only 2 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 Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship Program).
The average voucher size is about $3,408, which is about 37 percent 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: Yes, with exceptions
- Geographic Limit: Statewide
- Enrollment Cap: None
- Voucher Cap: $5,829
- Testing Mandates: None
- *Limited to students with special needs
- Be approved as a state-accredited nonpublic special-purpose school that is organized to provide, and emphasizes instruction in, speech-language therapy and intervention as the primary purpose of the school
- Provide comprehensive speech-language therapy instruction delivered by speech-language pathologists licensed by the state department of education and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Annually provide the parents of voucher students a written explanation of the student’s progress
- Conduct criminal background checks on employees.
- Allow for an annual audit of its financial records by the state auditor and file a copy of the audit report and accompanying management letter with the state board of education
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.