North Carolina Personal Education Savings Account Program

Program Information

  • ESA
  • Program Type: Education Savings Account Program, Special Needs Program

Program Update

Student participation will begin in 2018-2019 school year
  • Student must:
    • Be eligible to attend public school in North Carolina
    • Be at least five years old on or before August 31
    • Not be enrolled in a postsecondary institution as a full-time student taking 12 or more credit hours
    • Be a child with a disability who requires special education, as documented by an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • Student must meet the following to receive an ESA and a North Carolina Disabilities Scholarship Grant, to be used together:
    • Meet the criteria of each program AND the student must have one of the following disabilities designated in the student’s IEP as the primary or secondary disability at the time of the submission of the program application: autism spectrum disorder, deaf/blindness, developmental delay, deafness or hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, or visual impairment
  • Register with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE), thus meeting the following criteria:
    • Report name, address, and names of chief administrators and owners to DNPE 30-60 days before school begins initial operation
    • Meet fire, safety, and sanitation standards established by state and local authorities
    • Ensure that the school buildings meet applicable asbestos regulations
    • Operate for a school term of at least nine calendar months on a regular schedule
    • Keep accurate student attendance records on file at its office
    • Maintain current and accurate disease immunization records on file for each pupil enrolled
    • Issue Driving Eligibility Certificates to its age 15-17 students
    • Notify DNPE upon termination of the school
    • Satisfy child care requirements if a nursery or Pre-K program is also operated
    • Satisfy foster care requirements if the school exists primarily to meet the special needs of children living in family foster homes or residential care facilities
  • Meet state nondiscrimination policies
  • Provide the state with documentation for tuition and fees charged
  • Conduct criminal background checks on staff members with the highest decision-making authority
  • Provide parents with an annual written explanation of the student’s progress, including scores on standardized achievement tests
  • Annually administer a nationally standardized test to scholarship students and provide the test results to the state
  • Provide graduation rates of scholarship students to the state
  • Contract with a certified public accountant to perform a financial review for schools receiving more than $300,000 in scholarship grants


Scholarship Cap
- $9,000
Enrollment Cap
- None
Program Funding
- $450,000 in fiscal year 2017-18 to establish program
- $3 million in fiscal year 2018-19