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Special Needs Scholarship Program - School Payment Information FAQ

If you are a parent/guardian, please see the Frequently Asked Questions at dpi.wi.gov/parental-education-options/special-needs-scholarship/student-applications.

The information in this FAQ is based on Wis. Stats. s. 115.7915 and Wis. Admin. Code PI 49.

1. What are the different types of SNSP payments?

The Special Needs Scholarship Program has 3 different payment types. A full scholarship payment, partial scholarship payment, and an actual cost payment.

  • Full scholarship payment: Full scholarship payments are made for pupils who had an eligible SNSP application and have not been determined to no longer have a disability in any previous school year while participating in the SNSP.
  • Partial scholarship payment: Partial scholarship payments are made for pupils who were counted as a SNSP pupil in a prior school year and were subsequently determined to no longer have a disability in any previous school year while participating in the SNSP.
  • Actual Cost payment: A school has the option to receive a SNSP payment for a pupil based on the school’s cost to provide special education for that SNSP pupil in the previous school year. See the frequently asked question below regarding the actual cost payment for additional information.
2. What are the SNSP payment amounts?

The Special Needs Scholarship Program has 3 different payment types. A full scholarship payment, partial scholarship payment, or an actual cost payment. Please see the previous question for an explanation of the different payment types for SNSP. The full scholarship and partial scholarship payment rates are below. The school will receive the amount identified below if the student is eligible for both count dates.

The SNSP payments are made based on the full-time equivalent or FTE. Pupils in grades 1- 12 are counted as 1.0 FTE. The FTE for pupils in five-year-old kindergarten, or K5, is dependent on how many full days a week a pupil is attending. Pupils in four-year-old kindergarten, or K4, may be 0.5 FTE or 0.6 FTE. See the count report trainings on the Training webpage for information on which FTE is applicable for a student.

Please note that payment amounts are subject to statutory changes.

Grade Category

2022-23 School Year Annual Payment Amount if the student is eligible for both count dates

2023-24 School Year Annual Payment Amount if the student is eligible for both count dates

Partial Scholarship Amount per FTE for Grades K-8

$8,399

$9,893

Partial Scholarship Amount per FTE for Grades 9-12

$9,045

$12,387

Full Scholarship Amount

$13,076

$15,065

3. What is an actual cost payment and how does a school receive an actual cost payment for a SNSP student?

Schools may choose to complete a Statement of Actual Cost for one or more of the pupils that attended their school and participated in the SNSP in the previous school year. The Statement of Actual Cost is an optional form. A school may choose to complete this form for none, some, or all of its SNSP pupils that attended the school in the previous school year. If a school does not submit this statement for a pupil, the SNSP payment for the pupil will be based on the standard payment rates in the previous FAQ.

A school that would like a payment for a pupil using this option must provide a Statement of Actual Cost that indicates the actual special education costs incurred for the pupil for the prior school year while the pupil was participating in the SNSP. The school must provide supporting documentation for the costs. This statement is due by the 3rd Friday in July.

Schools that complete a Statement of Actual Cost and receive a payment based on this statement are electing to receive a SNSP payment based on the previous year’s special education expenses for the pupil included in the statement. The scholarship amount will be the amount on the Statement of Actual Cost up to 150% of the regular student payment amount plus 90% of the amount on the Statement of Actual Cost over 150% of the regular per pupil payment amount. For schools that elect to receive a SNSP payment based on the special education expenses for the pupil, in the year the school receives the payment for the pupil based on this statement, the pupil will not be included in the SNSP full-time equivalent when determining the general eligible education expenses for SNSP pupils in the financial audit reserve balance schedule.

If a school submits a Statement of Actual Cost for a pupil, the law requires that the DPI provides the student’s resident school district a copy of the Statement of Actual Cost and any supporting documentation received with the statement. This document is typically provided to the special education director for impacted school districts by October 15th each year using Kiteworks, the DPI’s secure online platform.

4. What are SNSP payments based on?

Payments are made based on membership (count) reports and enrollment audits. The three membership reports are the Preliminary Enrollment Report (due by the last weekday in August), the Third Friday in September Pupil Count Report (due by the last weekday in September), and the Second Friday in January Pupil Count Report (due by the last weekday in January). Schools that provide SNSP summer school must also submit a Summer School Count Report (due by September 15).

The initial payments to schools are made based on unaudited information. Schools are then required to have an external auditor complete an Enrollment Audit to determine if the school received the correct amount. After reviewing the Enrollment Audits, the DPI issues certification letters to the schools indicating the results of the review and if any amount is owed to or from the school. If the DPI owes the school money, the DPI will pay the amount owed via electronic funds transfer within 60 days of the date of the certification letter. If the certification letter requires that the school repay the DPI, the DPI will generally net the amount owed with a future SNSP payment if the school is currently eligible for SNSP payments.

5. When are SNSP payments made and how are they calculated?

Payments are made via electronic funds transfers quarterly to eligible schools by the end of the following months: September, November, February, and May.

The payments for September and November are ultimately based on the number of pupils that met the attendance requirements as of the Third Friday in September multiplied by 25% of the annual FTE. The February and May payments are based on the number of pupils that met the attendance requirements for the Second Friday in January multiplied by 25% of the annual FTE.

The November state aid payment is a “true-up” payment calculated based on the number of students on the Third Friday September Pupil Count Report multiplied by 50% of the annual FTE amount less the payment received in September.

If there are students counted on the Preliminary Enrollment Report that do not meet the Third Friday September Pupil Count Report requirements, the amount of the September payment for those students will be deducted from the November payment. If there are students that were not included on the Preliminary Enrollment Report that meet the Third Friday in September Pupil Count Report requirements, the school will receive a double payment (50% of the annual FTE amount) for the student in November. As a result, if a SNSP pupil is determined eligible after the Preliminary Enrollment Report is submitted but by the 3rd Friday in September, the pupil will still be eligible for the full annual SNSP payment if all other program requirements are met.

If a SNSP school offered an eligible summer school program, the summer school payment due to the school will be issued as a separate payment and paid at the same time as the regular SNSP payment the school receives in November.

The initial payments to schools are made based on unaudited information. Schools are then required to have an external auditor complete an Enrollment Audit to determine if the school received the correct amount. After reviewing the Enrollment Audits, the DPI issues certification letters to the schools indicating the results of the review and if any amount is owed to or from the school. If the DPI owes the school money, the DPI will pay the amount owed via electronic funds transfer within 60 days of the date of the certification letter. If the certification letter requires that the school repay the DPI, the DPI will generally net the amount owed with a future SNSP payment if the school is currently eligible for SNSP payments.

6. How does the school receive a SNSP payment for summer school?

SNSP schools seeking a SNSP state aid payment for eligible summer school instruction must submit the Summer School Count Report providing the list of SNSP students who attended summer school at the school.

Summer school courses funded through Federal Title programs are not eligible for payment through the SNSP summer school program.

The DPI will process the summer school payments by the end of November for eligible schools that offered SNSP summer school based on the Summer School Count Report submitted to the DPI.

The per aid student state aid amount for each eligible student that attends the SNSP summer school program 15 or more days is 5% of the maximum per student state aid amount from the prior year for that pupil. The per aid student state aid amount for each eligible student that attends the SNSP summer school program less than 15 days is prorated based on the number of days the student attends the SNSP summer school program.

The Summer School Bulletin, available on the Program Bulletins webpage, provides additional information.

7. How can I see a summary of payment amounts received? How do I determine what a payment from the DPI is for?

Schools can use the AIDS Register to see a history of payments made by the DPI. The Aids Register has a section for each payment type made by the DPI. Each line of the Aids Register identifies the date the payment was made and the amount. The Aids Register separately identifies the payments received from the Special Needs Scholarship Program and Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. The payments received for the WI & Racine Parental Choice Program will be in one combined section but the payment for each program will be identified on a separate line.

The AIDS Register can be accessed by clicking on “Aids Register” located on the Special Needs Scholarship Program webpage on the left menu bar. Schools are prompted to enter the fiscal year, the school’s legal entity name and agency number. Tip: Enter “2021” for fiscal year for payments for the 2020-21 school year or “2022” for the 2021-22 school year. Enter the school’s name, click on the agency number box, and then the system automatically fills the agency number.

The school can find more information about using the Aids Register in the STAR Aids Register section of the Aids Register Information webpage.

8. Where can a SNSP school obtain a listing of payments that were made for SNSP pupils for the school year?

The DPI provides the SNSP administrator for each school with a listing of pupils for which the school received a SNSP payment twice a year. As part of the SNSP September Enrollment Audit certification process, the DPI will provide each SNSP Administrator a listing of the students that the school received a payment for in the first half of the school year. After the school year is done, the DPI will provide the SNSP Administrator with a list of the students who the school received a payment for at any time during the school year. These listings will be uploaded to the school’s Kiteworks folder, which is accessible to the SNSP Administrator. Instructions how to access and download information in Kiteworks are available on the School Submitted Reports webpage.

Prior to receiving these lists, schools can use their pupil count reports to determine the students for which the school received a payment. The school will receive a payment for each student in the count reports unless the school receives notification from the DPI that a student was not eligible for payment. Please note the school’s folder in Kiteworks will only include a blank copy of the reports. The completed copy of the reports are uploaded by the SNSP administrator in the completed report folders in Kiteworks.

9. How can a private school change their banking information?

The school must contact Jacque Darrow (jacqueline.darrow@dpi.wi.gov) on the Department of Public Instruction's School Financial Services team to begin this process.

As a reminder, the same bank account must be used for all payments received from the Department, including Private School Choice Program payments, Special Needs Scholarship Program payments, and USDA food program payments.

10. Where can a public school district find information about SNSP payments and which students in their district received payments?

The DPI is unable to provide school districts information on what specific students are participating in the SNSP. Schools participating in the SNSP are required to notify each student’s resident school district when a SNSP application is determined eligible pending the IEP/services plan verification. This notification is generally sent to the special education director for the public school district. For additional information on this and other SNSP related requirements, please see the SNSP Frequently Asked Questions for Public School Districts available here: https://dpi.wi.gov/parental-education-options/special-needs-scholarship/student-applications.

For more information on the fiscal impacts of the SNSP, please see the Private School Vouchers Fiscal Information webpage.

11. Where else can a SNSP school find additional information about SNSP payments?

Additional information is available on the School Information Training webpage in the Payment Process, Pupil Count Report, & Audit Overview Training, the Preliminary Enrollment report Training, and the 3rd Fri Sept and 2nd Fri Jan Pupil Count Report Training.

If you have questions, please e-mail snsp@dpi.wi.gov  or call toll free 1-888-245-2732 ext. 4.