IEA Student Eligibility
Student eligibility requirements are set by state law, and the department cannot make exceptions.
A student is eligible to receive an IEA if they meet all of the following criteria:
1. is a Tennessee resident; and
2. will be in grades K-12 at the time of enrollment in the IEA Program; and
3. has an active individualized education program (IEP)1 through a Tennessee public school district in effect at the time of request for participation in the program; (If you have questions about your child's IEP status, please contact the public school district in which your student is enrolled.); and
4. has one of the following disabilities in the active IEP as the primary or secondary disability at the time of request for participation in the program2:
- developmental delay;
- hearing impairments;
- intellectual disability;
- multiple disabilities3;
- orthopedic impairments;
- specific learning disabilities;
- traumatic brain injury;
- visual impairments; and
5. meets at least one of the following requirements:
- was previously enrolled in and attended a Tennessee public school for the one full school year immediately preceding the school year in which the student receives an IEA;
- is entering kindergarten for the first time;*
- has not previously attended a school in Tennessee during the one full school year immediately preceding the school year in which the student receives an IEA, and moved to Tennessee less than one year prior to the date of enrollment in the IEA Program; or
- received an IEA in the previous year
*If a student has an active IEP prior to enrolling in kindergarten (e.g., in pre-K) and the IEP is active at the time of request for participation in the IEA Program, the student will be eligible to receive an IEA without having to attend a Tennessee public school; however, the student may have to be enrolled in a public school (e.g., pre-K) to keep the IEP active through the date the IEA application is submitted. Please note: for more information about IEPs, parents should contact their school district.
For more information, please see Chapter 2 of the 2022-23 IEA Account Holder Handbook.
1In accordance with 34 C.F.R § 300 et seq., § 49-10-102, and regulations of the state board of education.
2The State Board of Education (SBE) has approved the disability definitions and standards (rules of the SBE Chapter 0520-01-09).
3Multiple disabilities is a specific disability category. The words ‘multiple disabilities’ must be listed on the IEP as the primary or secondary disability for the student to be eligible.
Terms of the IEA
A student who enrolls in the IEA Program will remain eligible until the participating student:
- returns to a public school,
- moves out of Tennessee,
- graduates from high school (including passing the GED or HiSET), or
- reaches twenty-two (22) years of age by Aug. 15 for the next school year, whichever occurs first.