The Gardiner Scholarship

2020-21 School Year

We are no longer accepting Gardiner Scholarship applications or supporting documents for the 2020-21 school year.

2021-22 School Year

RENEWAL students may apply now for a Gardiner Scholarship for the 2021-22 school year. (You are a renewal student if your child received Gardiner Scholarship funding for the 2020-21 school year.)

Note: Renewal students will have funding priority until April 30, 2021.

NEW students will be able to apply for a Gardiner Scholarship for the 2021-22 school year in late April 2021. If your student is currently on the 2020-21 Gardiner Scholarship waitlist, you will also be able to apply at that time. Reminder: Students on the 2020-21 Gardiner Scholarship waitlist have priority over new students for the 2021-22 school year.

If you would like to be notified when we begin accepting applications for NEW students for the 2021-22 school year, please join our interest list.

General Application Information:
As always, funding is limited, and applications are processed based on the following priority:

  • *Renewal students will have funding priority until April 30, 2021.
  • *Once the funding priority deadline (4/30/2021) for RENEWAL students has passed, depending on available funding, applications will be processed in this order: 1) students who were on the 2020-21 Gardiner Scholarship waitlist and 2) new and renewal students in the order they are determined eligible.
  • *Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Within the above priority groups, students will be awarded based on the date and time eligibility was determined. If funding is not available at the time an award determination is made, the student may be placed on the waitlist.


The Gardiner Scholarship program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs. The name honors Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, who led the legislative effort to create the program, and his family. Gardiner and his wife Camille have championed the cause of children with unique abilities for many years. The Gardiners have two daughters and a son, Andrew, who has Down syndrome.

A different kind of scholarship: The Gardiner Scholarship is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.

The Gardiner Scholarship amount varies according to grade and county of residence. The Gardiner Scholarship award amounts for the 2020-21 school year are still being determined. However, the average amount for most students in the 2019-2020 school year is 10,400Click here to view the 2020-21 Gardiner Scholarship Amounts (PDF).

  • Renewal students
    • The funding calculation remains the same, and defaults to a matrix that assigns the student to 90% of the 253 level, unless the student’s parent has asked the school district for a revised matrix.
  • New students
    • If the student does not have a matrix level of services, funding defaults to 90% of the 253 level.
    • If the student has a matrix level of services on file with the Florida Department of Education, due to public school enrollment, of 254 or 255, they will be funded at 90% of that matrix level, and they will not need to utilize the matrix review process established in the Gardiner law in order to receive the additional funding.
    • Most students with an IEP will not have a matrix level of services.
    • If you have an IEP, you are not required to request a matrix level. Please note that doing so could adjust your matrix level and corresponding amount of scholarship funding down to a lower level.
Click here for resources and activities for your student during their ‘school’ day at home.

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