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IEA Program Update

                                                                                 Feb. 28, 2019

Greetings from Commissioner Penny Schwinn

As you may know, Governor Bill Lee recently appointed a new commissioner of education, Dr. Penny Schwinn. To read the press release, click here. Check out Commissioner Schwinn’s personal greeting on our Classroom Chronicles blog.

IEA Info Videos

Looking for more information about the IEA Program? Check out these short informational videos posted on the IEA webpage: For more detailed information about the IEA Program, watch the IEA Parent Information Session Webinar, read answers to frequently asked questions, read the IEA Parent Handbook, or check out the resources on the IEA webpage.

Launch of 2019–20 Student and School Applications for the IEA Program

The applications for students and private schools to participate in the Individualized Education Account (IEA) Program for the 2019-20 school year (Aug. 1, 2019-July 31, 2020) are now open.
  • Applications for private schools to participate in the IEA Program are accepted year-round. Current participating schools must annually apply to participate in the IEA Program. The department strongly encourages schools to apply as soon as possible so that parents are aware of which schools are approved to participate and to ensure the school’s application is fully approved by the Aug. 1, 2019, start date.
The department will not review applications that are received by the department after the deadline has passed.  The department will review applications within 30 calendar days.
If the student application is approved, parents must complete the following additional steps to enroll the student in the IEA Program:
  1. Read the 2019-20 IEA Parent Handbook. The handbook will be posted on the IEA Resources webpage in the summer and announced through the IEA Update.
  2. Submit the IEA Contract along with all required supporting documentation, including the Assurances Form, and FERPA Waiver by following the instructions that the department will email to account holders in mid-July 2019. Make sure to check your email in July. Complete contracts for students currently enrolled in the IEA Program must be received by the department by 3 p.m. CT on July 26.
  3. By Aug. 1, notify the IEA school district liaison for the district in which your student resides that the student will be enrolling in the IEA Program for the 2019-20 school year. The list of IEA school district liaisons is posted on the IEA webpage.
If all of these steps are not completed by the deadlines above, the student will not be enrolled in the IEA Program for the 2019-20 school year. No extensions can be given.
If you have any questions, please contact the IEA team at (615) 253–3781 or Please note: Due to the volume of calls and emails, it can take the IEA team up to 10 business days to respond.

Secure Email Encryption for Student Data

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. In order to securely send electronic communications to external users including IEA Account Holders and applicants, the IEA team will send any email that contains potentially protected information through the Office 365 Message Encryption. Potentially protected information may include emails containing the name, date of birth, or disability type of a student.

What to expect: An email sent from the State IEA Program will come from a email address via Office 365 Message Encryption that will say “[secure email]” in the subject line. The body of the email will contain a web link to open to view the contents of the email.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at

Additional Resources for Parents

Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
The Tennessee Disability Pathfinder (“Pathfinder”) provides free information, resources, support, and referrals to Tennesseans with disabilities and their families. Through three major program components, Pathfinder provides information and resources to individuals of all ages, all types of disabilities, and in several different languages. For more information, please visit:


Copyright © 2019 Tennessee Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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