Section 504 – Special Needs Scholarship Program
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that no otherwise qualified student with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities may be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any program or activity offered by the School District. Section 504 covers both children and adults, and applies to programs that receive any amount of federal financial assistance.
A Section 504 plan sets out accommodations and services as determined appropriate by a student’s Section 504 Team to provide the student access to his or her education. Decisions about whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Additional information about Section 504 can be found on the website of the Georgia Department of Education.
Special Needs Scholarship Program
During the 2021 legislative session, Senate Bill 47 (SB47) was passed and subsequently signed into law. This bill made significant changes to the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program. This program previously only allowed qualified public-school students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to receive a scholarship award, using state funds that would have been provided to the local school system, to use towards tuition at a participating private school. One of the major changes enacted in SB47 introduced a new qualification provision to the program that allows students who had a 504 plan, under certain conditions, to qualify to receive a scholarship award through this state program beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.
Additional information about how to qualify for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship award with a 504 Plan, to use towards tuition at a participating private school, can be found on the website of the Georgia Department of Education.