How the Income-Based Scholarships Work
More than 784,000 scholarships have been provided to lower-income Florida students in grades K-12 since 2001. Could your child be next?
2019-20 School Year:
New and renewal families may apply now for the income-based scholarships for the 2019-20 school year by clicking the button below. Note: The processing priority deadline (Jan. 31, 2019) for renewal families has passed meaning all applications are now processed on a first-come, first-served basis in the order all documents are received, regardless of family scholarship status.
FLORIDA TAX CREDIT
In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to assure that low-income children have more learning options. The scholarships are based on financial need, not how well your child does in school. Families may choose between financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or with transportation costs to attend a public school in another district.
Both the private school option and the transportation option have the same eligibility and application process.
When Step Up is accepting applications, they are processed in the order they are received (including all supporting documentation) and scholarships are awarded with priority given to renewal families followed by new families with the greatest financial need. Scholarships 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.
FAMILY EMPOWERMENT SCHOLARSHIP
The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) Program is one of Florida’s greatest victories for low-income and working-class families, and it is the first of its kind to extend support to middle-income families. Following the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 7070, which creates the FES Program and provides 18,000 students life-changing education opportunities for academic and career success.
The FES Program will provide an educational lifeline to students waiting for an opportunity to find the school that will best work for them and puts more parents in the driver’s seat to determine the best educational environments for their children.
Please note, checks are sent directly to the school in which the enrolled child is attending, and are never sent directly to any individuals.
For the Florida Tax Credit Private school option: Pays up to $6,519 for Kindergarten–5th grade, $6,815 for 6th-8th grade and $7,111 for 9th-12th grade for the 2018-19 school year toward the following school expenses, in this order until the maximum is reached. Amounts for the 2019-20 school year is still being determined:
** Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third-party vendor.
The Florida Tax Credit Transportation option: With the income-based transportation scholarship, families can choose a $750 scholarship for the 2018-19 school year (2019-20 amount is being determined) to assist with the cost of transportation to another public school. The public school must be out of the student’s assigned district. For required documentation, please contact Step Up for Students at 877-735-7837 option 2 and ask for the transportation scholarship representative
Amounts for the 2019-20 school year are still being determined:
Children who income qualify
Please note: Applications are processed in the order they are received, including all supporting documentation. Scholarships are awarded with a priority given to renewal families followed by new families with the greatest financial need.
With the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, students who qualify will receive financial assistance toward either private school tuition and fees or transportation to a public school in another county/district.
Florida Tax Credit Eligibility Criteria:
Students entering Kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept. 1.
Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept.1.
If a member of the household receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may qualify.
If the household income qualifies for free or reduce-priced lunch, the student may qualify.
If the household income is at/or below the income criteria found in the chart below titled “Eligibility Chart”, the student may qualify.
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship income level will serve students in households at $66,950 or below. Priority will be given to students whose incomes are below $46,637.
Children who are homeless (FTC)
A child who is homeless and is entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept. 1.
A child who is homeless and is entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept. 1.
The family must provide documentation to validate the child’s homeless status.* Acceptable documentation includes: A letter/document on letterhead written and signed by the homeless liaison in the public school district to which the child is assigned or by the Owner/Executive Director of the shelter or transitional housing facility of which the family resides.
Documentation must include:
1. Child’s name
2. Effective date(s)
3. Signature of the local educational liaison or the director of the homeless shelter.
*There is no income threshold for homeless students to qualify.
Children who are in foster care or out-of-home care (FTC)
A student who is/was placed at any time in foster care or out-of-home care during the current OR previous state fiscal year may be eligible (The state fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.).
A child in foster care is defined by the following:
“Foster care” means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof, as defined by s. 39.01(29).
A child in out-of-home care placement is defined by the following:
“Out-of-home” means a placement outside of the home of the parents or a parent, as defined by s. 39.01(48).
“Out-of-Home Care” means the placement of a child in licensed and non-licensed settings, arranged and supervised by the department or contracted service provider, outside of the home of the parent, as defined by DCF Rule: 65C-30.001 Definitions. (91).
These students may apply at any time during the school year as long as funds are available. If you are interested in applying for the 2018-19 school year, please call us at 877-735-7837 and we’ll help you get started. If you believe that any child in your care may be eligible, and if you have any questions, please call the contact center as each situation is different.
Kindergarten or 1st Grade
Out of Home Care