Oklahoma

Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

  • Voucher
  • Enacted 2010
  • Launched 2010

Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities provide vouchers to qualifying students with special learning needs. Students must have or qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Service Plan (ISP) to participate in the program. More information on student funding, eligibility and the legal history for the program is included on the page.

We do not administer this program.

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  • 1,256

    Participating Students (2022–23)

  • 17%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 73

    Participating Schools (2022–23)

  • $8,083

    Average Voucher Value (2022–23)

  • 80%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

The voucher is worth the lesser amount of state dollars spent on the child in his or her public school or the chosen private school’s tuition and fees. Qualifying students in foster care or other state placements receive scholarships worth the per-pupil state aid plus any applicable weights (such as English-language learners or gifted students). The State Department of Education determines this calculation for each student.

The maximum scholarship a qualifying student with disabilities can be granted will be the amount calculated by the State Department of Education according to the student’s grade level and disability category or the amount of tuition and fees for the chosen private school, whichever is less. The State Department of Education retains two and a half percent (2.5%) of the scholarship amount for administrative services.

(Last updated December 18, 2023)

Student Eligibility

Any student with an active Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Service Plan (ISP) who attended an Oklahoma public school the prior year is eligible. Eligibility also extends to students served by an IEP with a parent in the U.S. Armed Forces who transfer to Oklahoma from out-of-state or from a foreign country. Students in state custody, or formerly in state custody, supported with Individualized Service Plans (ISP) developed by Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) also qualify. These students are also exempt from the prior public schooling requirement and include students in out-of-home placement through foster care, students adopted from state custody or the foster care system, and students in other out-of-home placement situations. Students served by the SoonerStart program, and identified as qualifying for school services, are not required to have previous public schooling with their Individual Family Service Plan.

After receiving an initial voucher, the student will continue to qualify for the scholarship with the submission of a renewal application each year. Eligibility continues until a student returns to public school, graduates from high school, or reaches the age of 22.

(Last updated December 18, 2023)

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Oklahoma’s voucher for students with disabilities provides thousands of families access to schooling choices that better provide support for the needs of their students, but expanded educational opportunities are needed for more families.

Eligibility for the scholarship is narrowly limited to students with special education needs with a learning plan, and in some cases requires previous enrollment in public school. Less than twenty percent of Oklahoma students are eligible to receive a scholarship under the program.

The average voucher is roughly $8,000, which is about 80 percent of the average expenditure per student at Oklahoma’s district schools. Statewide less than one percent of students identified by the State Department of Education as having special education needs participate in the program.

To expand access to educational choice, Oklahoma policymakers should remove any prior enrollment requirements, increase scholarship funding and expand eligibility to more students. The program could also be converted 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.

Oklahoma’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: Yes, with exceptions
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Voucher Cap: Lesser of state calculated spending or tuition cost
  • Testing Mandates: None

School Requirements:

  • Be accredited by the state board of education or approved accrediting association
  • Comply with federal nondiscrimination provisions and state health and safety requirements
  • Provide services and/or accommodation for students with disabilities
  • Have been in operation for one school year prior to participation in the program
  • Provide a statement by a certified public accountant that confirms the private school is insured and the owners have sufficient capital or credit to operate or provide record of a surety bond or credit for the amount equal to the scholarship funds for any quarter
  • Teachers must have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of teaching experience in public or private schools or have special skills, knowledge or expertise that qualifies them to provide instruction in the subjects taught
  • Not use voucher funds to recoup the general costs of providing general education services

(Last updated December 18, 2023)

Governing Statutes

Okla. Stat. tit. 70 § 13-101.2

(Last updated December 18, 2023)