How the HOPE Scholarship Works

Is your child being bullied or a victim of violence?

If so, there is hope.

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In 2018, the Florida Legislature created the Hope Scholarship Program to give public school children in Florida relief from bullying and violence. The scholarship gives parents the opportunity to transfer their child to another K-12 public school with capacity within the school district, receive a scholarship to transport the student to a public school in another school district, or to request a scholarship for the student to attend an eligible private school. A qualifying incident must have taken place at a public K-12 educational institution, any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity, riding on the school bus or waiting at the school bus stop.

Qualifying incidents include battery; harassment; hazing; bullying; kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses, harassment, assault or battery; threat or intimidation; or fighting at school as defined by the Florida Department of Education in accordance with s. 1006.09(6).

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, once a parent or child submits a report of an incident, the school principal, or his/her designee, will provide a copy of the report to the parent and investigate the incident. Once the investigation is complete, or within 15 days after the incident was reported, whichever occurs first, the principal, or his/her designee, will notify the parent about the Hope Scholarship Program, and provide the documentation required for Step Up For Students to determine scholarship eligibility.

The Hope Scholarship Program is not based on financial need. Families may choose between transferring to another public school within the school district, financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or transportation costs to attend a public school in another district.

Both the private school scholarship and the transportation scholarship have the same eligibility requirements.

Applications, including all supporting documents, are processed in the order they are received and scholarships are awarded pending funding availability. Scholarship funding can be transferred to other eligible schools if the student moves within the state, or simply wants to attend a different participating private school.

The student may keep the scholarship – depending on available funding and notification of renewal – until the student returns to public school or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.

Please note, private school scholarship funds are sent directly to the school in which the child is enrolled.

Private school scholarship: Pays up to $6,519 for kindergarten – fifth grade, $6,815 for sixth – eighth grade and $7,111 for ninth – 12th grade for the 2018-19 school year. Scholarship amounts will be prorated based on the time of the school year the student enrolls in the private school. The scholarship can be used towards the following school expenses, in this order until the maximum is reached:

  1. Tuition
  2. Books sold through the school (e.g. textbooks, workbooks, etc.)
  3. Registration
  4. Transportation services that occur during school hours (e.g. transportation services to/from school or for field trips)
  5. Uniforms sold through the school
  6. Testing (e.g. standardized or entrance testing)
  7. Other fees, not including before and/or after school care services or after school sports fees (e.g. graduation fees, yearbook fees, field trips)

Transportation Scholarship: Families can choose a scholarship, up to $750, to assist with the cost of transportation to an out-of-district public school.

Renewal for subsequent school years: For the purposes of continuity of educational choice, a Hope Scholarship shall remain in force until the student returns to their zoned public school or graduates from high school.

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