Families of students in special education programs who have been affected by school closures due to COVID-19 can apply for a $1,500 grant from the Texas Education Agency.

Senate Bill 1716, which was approved in June, expanded the eligibility criteria for the one-time funds from the state's Supplemental Special Education Services program. That program has been in place since January, according to the TEA's website. Due to the limited number of grants available, TEA is already accepting applications through its website.

To be eligible for the grant, students must be enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade in a Texas public school and served by a special education program.

A webinar about the program posted to the TEA's YouTube page stated the grant funds can be used to purchase goods and services, such as computers or therapy, that will help students learn.

“This is not a debit card,” said the webinar's presenter, who was not named. “When a family is awarded a grant, this money appears in a digital purse and must be used by logging into our ClassWallet Marketplace and spending the funds through it.”

The webinar also walks families through the program’s application process. Applicants will receive an email about whether they will receive a grant within 30 days of applying.

“This program requires that you spend this money so that your student benefits,” the webinar presenter said. “If you do not begin spending this money within six months, your account funds may be reclaimed and given to another family who qualifies.”

Additional information about the Supplemental Special Education Services program is available here.