If you listened to the Governor’s broadcast on Thursday, you heard him mention a new grant program offering $1,500 in free tutoring support for students with disabilities. I did a little digging into the website, and here is what I found…
This program is called Learning Aid Ohio – a group created by the Ohio Governor’s office, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (ODD), and Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO). The purpose of the program is to connect families to providers that can go to the family home (or elsewhere, if preferred) to assist students with their online learning. The program also provides some financial assistance for families to pay for those services. The definition of “learning support” is pretty open-ended. Services can include learning support while the student learns virtually, help completing assignments, or tutoring on a specific subject.
Learning Aid Ohio will conduct a background check on all providers before they are approved, but, beyond that, it is up to the family to research the provider’s qualifications and interview them to see if they are a good fit and are able to meet the student’s/family’s needs. You can schedule lessons and pay for them right on the website.
Providers have to fill out an application, submit to a background check, pay $20, create a bio and establish their hours of availability. Providers can charge whatever they want – there is no set rate, nor is there a list of specific criteria or credentials required in order to be a provider. The application simply asks for “relevant experience.”
The grant is available to students who:
- have an IEP for the 2020-21 school year
- 100% of their education is being delivered remotely (no hybrid), and
- have a financial need
In order to qualify financially, the household income must be at or below 400% of Federal Poverty Level guidelines. For a family of three, that’s $86,880, and for a family of five, it’s $122,720.
If the family is approved for the grant, they will receive $1,500 per quarter (15-week period). Families with more than one student on an IEP may be entitled to more. Any costs incurred beyond that $1,500 would fall upon the family to pay to the provider.
This program may not work for everyone, but it’s certainly nice to have options. The struggle is real, and we have to keep working together to find ways to make sure the education of our children doesn’t suffer.