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Hundreds of Utah Students with Special Needs Now Have Access to More Education Options

During a special session, the Utah Legislature and Governor Gary Herbert reached a compromise on the creation of the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program. House Bill 4003 provides hundreds of Utah students with special needs the opportunity to customize their education.  

Now more than ever, students and families are desperately seeking flexibility and options to access a wider variety of educational services to find what helps their students learn and grow best. This new scholarship program will enhance the lives of Utah children with special needs while providing families with more support.


“I commend the leadership of Governor Gary Herbert, Senate President Stuart Adams, House Speaker Brad Wilson, Senator Lincoln Fillmore, Representative Mike Schultz and the Utah Legislature for working diligently on behalf of all Utah students, especially those with special needs.”


Patricia Levesque, ExcelinEd CEO 

This legislation establishes a $6 million tax-credit scholarship account program for families to pay for private school tuition, educational therapies, tutoring, online learning, textbooks and other education-related services. The compromise will: 

  • Allow more low-to-middle income Utahns to be served by adjusting the scholarship amount based on a family’s income; 
  • Grow the program over time by including a 10-percent automatic escalator to the cap of the scholarship program if the previous year’s donations exceed 90 percent; and  
  • Consider streamlining the options for students with special needs by establishing a feasibility study to consider combining the current Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program with this scholarship. 

COVID-19:You can find our resources for state leaders on COVID-19 by clicking here, including highlighted solutions from states across the country. 

For more information on the transformative power of education opportunity, visit ExcelinEd’s policy library.