The information provided on this page is based on our understanding of the law and may change as rules and policies are created as part of the implementation process before scholarships are issued. Information on this page will be updated as soon as we are aware of any changes in the program.

Does your child qualify for a MO Scholars scholarship?

MO Scholars schoalrships are designed to help the students most in need of educational options.

Eligibility for MO Scholars scholarships is limited by:

  • Where a student lives

  • Whether or not they have an IEP

  • Household income

  • If a student qualifies based on income, they must also have attended a public school for at least a semester during the year prior to applying for a scholarship or be entering Kindergarten or First Grade.


Areas of the state that qualify for an MO Scholars scholarship

MO Scholars scholarships are currently only available for students living in Missouri’s most populous regions.

Only students living in a county with a charter form of government (St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Clay County, and Jackson County) or in a city with a population greater than 30,000 (St. Louis City, Blue Springs, Wentzville, Saint Peters, O’Fallon, Cape Girardeau, Saint Charles, Columbia, Springfield, Lee’s Summit, Liberty, Kansas City, Jefferson City, Wildwood, Oakville, University City, Florissant, Chesterfield, St. Joseph, and Joplin) will qualify to apply for an ESA scholarship.


This geographic restriction is based on residency, so if a student living in one of these regions receives an ESA they will not be required to use the scholarship to pay tuition to a school in one of these locations. They would be able to use the scholarship funds to pay for tuition at any school in Missouri that they choose.

Find out if you live in an area that qualifies using the map below. Qualifying regions are highlighted. You can zoom by using the "+" and "-" buttons and can access more information by clicking on the icon with an arrow in the grey bar at top.


Does your child meet the IEP or income requirements to qualify for a MO Scholars scholarship? 

MO Scholars scholarships are intended to help the students most in need of better educational options and are disbursed based on a student’s special needs and household income.

In order to qualify for an MO Scholars scholarship, a student needs to either:


  1. Have an approved “individualized education plan” developed under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The term “individualized education plan” means:

    1. Any IEP or ISP that is proffered for program eligibility must be dated within thirty-six months of the date of the student’s application to the program. Students with ISPs that are not developed under the IDEA are not eligible.

      1. An individualized education program (IEP) as defined in 20 U.S.C. §1414(d)(I)(A)(i); or

      2. An individual service plan (ISP) that is developed in cooperation with a local educational agency under the IDEA, specifically those provisions pertaining to parentally placed private school children found in 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(10) and 34 CFR §300.132(b).

  2. Is a member of a household whose total annual income does not exceed an amount equal to 100% of the income standard used to qualify for free and reduced lunches, and meets at least one of the following:

    1. Attended a public school as a full-time student for at least one semester during the previous twelve months; or

    2. Is a child who is eligible to begin kindergarten or first grade.

The ESA legislation requires that scholarships first be distributed to students with an IEP or a household income at 100 percent of the free and reduced lunch rate, and then if there is still funding for additional scholarships students who with a household income of up to 200 percent of the free and reduced lunch rate will become eligible.

Free and Reduced Lunch rates are based on household size and income, please use the chart below to determine if your child is eligible at either the 100% or 200% level.

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Additional requirements

If a student qualifies based on the income requirements, they must also have attended a public school for at least a semester during the past year or be entering Kindergarten or First Grade.