Who is eligible for MOST?
In a typical application year, MOST accepts applications from Shelby County residents who meet its financial requirements and who have a child entering PK3, PK4, kindergarten, or grade 1. The only exception to these grade levels is an older student (entering grade 2 through 8) who has had a recent individually administered psychoeducational evaluation that determines the student has an intellectual or developmental disability, dyslexia, attention deficits, autism spectrum disorder, or a defined social-emotional need and whose parents are looking to enroll the student in a MOST partner school that will specifically address the student's special needs. If your child does not meet these requirements, you should not apply.
Once in the program, a student will keep the scholarship through grade 8, as long as the family remains financially eligible and has stayed current with all program requirements. Eighth-graders have a one-time opportunity to apply for a MOST High School Scholarship, which is based on student merit and the family's financial need.
What is the application process?
Eligible parents or guardians submit an online pre-application by the stated deadline (typically the last day of February), and recipients are selected by lottery shortly thereafter. The selected families will be sent a New Student Application by email or regular mail and will have several weeks from the date of notification to submit their paperwork, including proof of all household income and household residents. Failure to submit the proper paperwork by the deadline will result in the scholarship offer being withdrawn and offered to the next winning lottery number. Applications are only available during the open pre-application season, which takes place during the entire month of February.
How does MOST calculate household income?
If you are awarded a MOST scholarship, you will be required to submit documentation of all household income (e.g. income earned by anyone in the home, not limited to the student’s biological parents), including:
- Earned income (provide entire, most-current-year income tax return(s), including all schedules and W-2s of all filers in the household)
- Food stamps (provide Food Stamp Issuance History)
- Families First (provide Cash Issuance History)
- Social Security (provide SSA 1099 for each household recipient)
- Child support (provide Custodial Parent Payment Summary or a signed letter from paying party if support is not court-ordered)
- Any other income not included in the categories above.
You must also provide proof of the number of people in your household by having them listed on your tax return or on the documentation of government aid or child support. If you have a special situation that makes this difficult, contact MOST for clarification. MOST reserves the right to rescind any scholarship if a family provides incomplete or inaccurate financial information.
When does MOST accept applications?
Each year, we accept online pre-applications during the entire month of February. All pre-applications received by the deadline (usually the last day of February) will be treated equally. Since scholarships are awarded based on a lottery (and not on a first-come, first-served basis), there is no benefit to getting pre-applications submitted earlier in the pre-application period.
Does MOST keep a waiting list?
MOST keeps a waiting list of those students whose pre-applications were part of the lottery, but for that pre-application season only. Once all scholarships have been awarded for a given school year, the list of pre-applicants is destroyed, and families must apply again the following year if they are still eligible.
How much are scholarships worth?
The amount of a MOST scholarship is determined by family size and income relative to tuition, less any financial aid provided by the school. However, for the 2017-2018 school year, there will be a maximum award of $2,100 for students in PK3 through grade 8 and $2,300 for students in high school. Families are responsible for finding additional financial aid and paying the balance of the tuition themselves.
The most common reason that families drop out of the MOST program is that they cannot afford to continue their part of tuition payments. Because stability is important in a child’s education, please seriously evaluate your financial situation and determine whether it is feasible to make private schooling a long-term commitment for your family.
At which schools can scholarships be used?
Scholarships can be used at any of our partner schools. We recommend that you thoroughly research the schools you are looking at for your child, taking into consideration cost (including tuition plus all required fees and expenses — activities, books, uniforms, aftercare, etc.), location, school size, atmosphere, teaching methods, programs for special needs, and religious teachings, if any. For more information on choosing a school, visit our Resources page.