Ohio

Autism Scholarship Program

  • Voucher
  • Enacted 2003
  • Launched 2004

Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program allows Ohio students with autism to receive vouchers up to $32,455 for education services from a private provider, including tuition at a private school. Learn more about the program, including its funding, eligibility, and regulations on this page.

We do not administer this program.

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  • 4,696

    Participating Students (202223)

  • 2%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 279

    Participating Service Providers (202122)

  • $26,639

    Average Voucher Value (202223)

  • 193%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

The state will compensate a student’s parents or custodian for education services up to $32,455 in FY2023. A child must be in the program for a full academic year to claim this amount. If transportation is listed on the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) as a related service, the parent may obtain transportation from a registered private provider that is approved by the state to provide such transportation and claim it for reimbursement through the Autism Scholarship program. Parents are responsible for covering any costs in addition to the maximum amount allowed per year.

(Last updated December 18, 2023) 

Student Eligibility

Students must be ages 3 to 21, diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, registered in a public school special education system, and have a current IEP. Students may use the voucher whether or not they were enrolled previously in public schools, though students not previously enrolled in public schools must formally transfer into the public system for IEP purposes. (They do not need to leave their private schools.)

(Last updated December 18, 2023) 

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program helps thousands of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.

Eligibility for the vouchers is limited to students ages 3 to 21 who have an IEP and have been diagnosed with autism. Less than five percent of Ohio’s students are eligible for a scholarship and just under five percent students statewide actually use one of Ohio’s five educational choice programs (including the Cleveland Scholarship Program, the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, and the Income-Based Scholarship Program).

The average voucher value is about $26,500 and may be worth up to $31,500 per year in FY2022 and $32,455 per year in FY2023 and beyond.

In order to expand access to educational choice, Ohio policymakers could convert the program into an education savings account to ensure that all students have access to the education that’s the right fit for them, whether private school or a customized course of education.

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

(Last updated December 18, 2023) 

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Voucher Cap: $32,455 per year in FY2023 and beyond
  • Testing Mandates: None
  • Limited to students with special needs

School Requirements:

  • Register with the state
  • Comply with state nondiscrimination codes
  • Demonstrate fiscal soundness
  • Have properly credentialed staff
  • Teachers and other staff working with children must undergo background checks
  • In operation at least one full year
  • Have adequate liability, property and casualty insurance certified by a certified public accountant
  • Provide regular student progress reports to parents and resident public school

(Last updated December 18, 2023) 

Governing Statutes

Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3310.41 through 43

(Last updated December 18, 2023)