41 Days of School Choice: Day 15 – Ohio Provides Additional Education Options for Special Needs Students

Columbus, Ohio (August 22, 2014) –The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice and School Choice Ohio celebrate day 15 of the #41Days of School Choice initiative by focusing on Ohio’s Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, which offers a lifeline to Ohio families with special needs children.

This program helps students in kindergarten through twelfth grade who have a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) from their district public school, by providing a scholarship to help pay for tuition at a participating school and/or services at participating private service providers, such as therapists. The scholarship amount is determined by the severity of the student’s needs and capped at $20,000 per school year.

There are two application periods throughout the year to apply for the scholarship. Students who are accepted during the first application window will receive funds for the full school year. Those who apply during the second window will only receive a scholarship for the latter half of the school year.

“More than 2,300 Ohio students with special needs are receiving an education that is personalized for their specific learning needs, thanks to the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program,” said School Choice Ohio Executive Director Matt Cox.

As a student with special needs, Shawn Brown was getting bullied, and his family was struggling to find an education that was a good fit. With the help of the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, they were able to send Shawn to a school that allowed him to thrive and become better prepared for his future goals. Click here to watch Shawn’s powerful story.

Program Facts: 

  • There is an enrollment cap of no more than five percent of Ohio students identified as children with disabilities during the previous fiscal year (nearly 12,000 scholarships)
  • Students must have a current IEP
  • The scholarship is renewable through high school graduation or the student’s 22nd birthday
  • Students cannot be receiving a scholarship under the EdChoice Scholarship Program, the Income-Based Scholarship Program, the Autism Scholarship Program, or the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program for the same school year in which they are seeking the special needs scholarship

Throughout the 41 Days of School Choice campaign, the American Federation for Children will be promoting programs using the hashtag “#41Days”.


The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.

School Choice Ohio is the only statewide organization that educates parents on their education options and advocates for the expansion of quality options for every child.


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