There are two kinds of non-public schools for students with special needs in the State of New York: State-approved schools and non-approved schools. State approval is not related to accreditation and does not necessarily reflect the quality of the school.

Approved non-public schools are schools that have been approved by the New York State Department of Education. In addition to accepting private funding, approved non-public schools accept students who receive "Nickerson Letters" or "Defer to CBST" recommendations. For a list of approved non-public schools in New York State, visit the Vesid Website.

Private schools that are not State-approved require private funding and will not serve a student solely on account of a "Nickerson Letter" or a "Defer to CBST" recommendation. Visit this link for the websites of non-approved private schools in New York State.

Proving that a student is entitled to funding for a private school can be both difficult and time-consuming. Parents may wish to contact an attorney for assistance in such cases. If you are unable to afford a private attorney and you live in New York City, you may wish to call the helpline at Advocates for Children at 1-866-427-6033. Helpline staff can provide you guidance on the educational rights of your child.