How the Income-Based Scholarship Works 


NEW and RENEWAL families may now apply for the 2015-16 school year. New families, click here. Renewal families, click here

Please note: Children who are in foster care or out-of-home care may apply year-round. Please click here to learn more.

In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (income-based scholarship) to assure that low-income children have learning options. Under the law, the scholarships are based on financial need, not how well your child does in school.  

Students learn in different ways and parents need to find the best school for each child. Sometimes that means another public school in a different neighborhood or sometimes that means a private school. Step Up For Students exists to help low-income families enjoy all of those options.

With the income-based scholarship, families can choose between two options: 

  • A scholarship to help cover private school tuition and fees, worth up to $5,272. The scholarship will pay for the following school expenses, in this order until maximum award amount is reached, or until all fees are satisfied, whichever is first: 1) Tuition 2) Books* 3) Registration 4) Transportation 5) Uniforms* 6) Testing 7) Other(*Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third party vendor.)

  • A scholarship to assist with transportation costs to attend a public school in a different county, worth up to $500. The public school must be out of the student’s assigned district, which typically means it is in a different count. Also, the student must have permission from the district in which the student resides and the district in which the student wants to attend. (Step Up will need documentation of the approval by both districts before being able to award the scholarship.)

(Scholarship amounts for the 2014-15 school year are noted. The private school scholarship amount may increase for the 2015-16 school year.) Please note: Both the private school scholarship and the transportation scholarship have the same application and eligibility process.

If a child is entering kindergarten through 12th grade and meets one of the following, he/she may qualify for a scholarship:

For eligibility information for children who are in foster care or in out-of-home care, please click here

For eligibility information for children who are homeless, please click here

Eligibility for children who qualify based on income:

Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and can be transferred to other eligible schools if the student moves within the state, or simply wants to attend a different Step Up partner school.  

Application News:

NEW FAMILIES: You may now apply for a scholarship for the 2015-16 school year.Please note: FTC scholarships for new students are limited as we anticipate a record number of applicants this year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis once applications are completed. Please apply early as we anticipate going to a waitlist much earlier than usual. Click here to start your application, keeping in mind you must have a valid e-mail address to receive application-related notifications from our system.

RENEWAL FAMILIES: If your child received an income-based Step Up scholarship for the current 2014-15 school year, click here to apply for the 2015-16 school year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis (giving priority to renewal families) and the deadline to complete the online application AND submit all required documentation is April 30, 2015, so please apply early.