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Reimbursement vs. Direct Funding Special Education Tuition Cases

"I can't afford to pay for private school." I hear this all the time from parents, and it is understandable. Private special education schools and service programs cost tens of thousands (and sometimes) hundreds of thousand of dollars - to say nothing of attorneys fees and evaluations. The good news is the law protects families who cannot afford tuition and/or services upfront, and makes it clear that a family's inability to pay should not inhibit their child from receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE").

The law allows families to have their tuition and/or services "directly funded" by the district (this is also known as a "Connors"or prospective funding case). Meaning that rather than pay upfront and wait for reimbursement (a traditional reimbursement case is known as a "Carter" tuition case), families can possibly pay only a deposit or make small installment payments while they wait for their case to be won, or their settlement to be finalized. When the money comes in, it is then paid directly to the school and/or service provider(s).

It is important to understand the following about prospective cases:

  • Not every school and service agency can afford to allow families in on a Connors basis as doing so is a huge financial burden and risk - not every institution is in a position to take these risks

  • Families must be able to demonstrate the financial need required by the District in order to qualify for direct funding, therefore...

  • Parents who wish to resolve their case in this way must be willing to submit a copy of their most recent tax return to the District, and must discuss their income with their attorney ahead of time to ensure that they qualify

For additional questions about either type of tuition case, whether your family qualifies for Connors funding, or any other inquires contact me at or 646-741-3030. We are here to help!

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