State, Step Up working to fund students

Sep 29 2021 • By Roger Mooney

Several families with students on the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA, formerly Gardiner) and the income-based Family Empowerment Scholarship-Educational Options (FES-EO) recently have expressed frustration with delays in the first quarterly payment to their scholarships.

Today, Step Up For Students and the Florida Department of Education sent this joint email to affected families:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Thank you very much for reaching out, and we understand the concerns regarding funding for your child’s school of choice. Thankfully, this is an isolated data entry error in approximately 15 school districts. We are confident all payments will be successfully processed and verified by mid-October, or earlier.

In fact, 80% of these data entry errors, which made it appear some scholarship students were “double-enrolled,” have already been corrected. About 15 school districts reported students as still being enrolled in a district-run school, even though the students had actually enrolled in non-public schools through a scholarship program.

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) has been working with Step Up For Students and these 15 districts to ensure errors are corrected as quickly as possible, in order that funds can subsequently follow students to the school of their choice. Once corrected, Step Up For Students will notify families when their student’s funding is deposited. In the meantime, families will continue to receive updates from Step Up for Students.

Contact us by visiting our website at and using the Online Chat option or by calling our Service Center at 877-735-7837. Our Scholarship Service Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET. We are here to help you.

Step Up For Students and the Florida Department of Education

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Roger Mooney