Partnering with Step Up For Students allows your school to be a part of a larger effort to ensure every child has an opportunity to receive a high-quality education. Our scholarship programs and extended services can help increase student achievement, strengthen instruction and grow school enrollment.
We have more than 1,798 participating schools. Access our drop-down menu to learn more about our two scholarship opportunities, the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Gardiner Scholarship for children with special needs. Find out how they work, and how you can help promote the programs and your school to prospective students and parents. For many families, the scholarships offer the only opportunity they have to afford private school tuition or other learning options that truly addresses their children’s educational needs.
Step Up For Students also provides other valuable services through its Office of Student Learning, a team of experienced education professionals who work with school administrators, teachers and parents to bolster learning and professional development.
Join the cause and help children succeed.
Requirements for private schools are focused on two categories: a school’s facility and its personnel. The state is focused on providing a great learning environment for all of Florida’s students and asks private schools to hold themselves to the standards found in the rule. A school works with local agencies, such as fire and health departments, to successfully complete inspections annually. Additionally, school faculty and staff are fingerprinted to ensure they are good candidates to work with young students.
Read more about becoming a partner in our mission to serve low-income Florida families.
For more information about what is required to be considered an eligible, private school who is able to participate with the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) or the Gardiner Scholarship Program click here.
To begin the compliance process with the Florida Department of Education, please follow the instructions below. After successfully completing the process, school administrators should contact Mayte Gonzalez, operations coordinator in the Office of School Development, to confirm compliance and complete a brief training on our scholarship enrollment system.
- Navigate to www.floridaschoolchoice.org
- Click on, “Private School Information For Administrators”
- Use your 4-digit Department of Education code and password to Login under “Existing Private Schools Login.” If you don’t have a DOE code, please click here and follow instructions to obtain a code and password.
- After logging in, please indicate that you’d like to participate in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program.
-Nadia Hionides, Principal of The Foundation Academy, Jacksonville
“At Admiral Farragut, the way we operate is deeply rooted in history and rich in tradition, and being a positive influence in our community is a big part of that. Our mission is to give young people a solid foundation of academics, social and leadership skills, and a sense of integrity so they can become productive members of our global society. Why should anyone be denied this opportunity simply because of their economic status? We embrace diversity and believe all children deserve a chance, which is why we enthusiastically partnered with Step Up For Students and encourage other schools to do the same.”
-Captain Robert J. Fine, Jr., Headmaster of Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg
“Step Up For Students allows families who would otherwise be unable to attend Incarnation Catholic School an opportunity to acquire a private and Catholic education. As a Catholic organization, part of our mission is to serve all members of our community regardless of race, gender, economic status or even religion. Step Up for Students helps us to accomplish. Furthermore, the Catholic Church teaches that parents are the primary educators of their child(ren). Thanks to Step Up for Students, more families can exercise this primary educational role and choose the education that they feel is the best for their child(ren). This program helps us to serve more students while still keeping tuition for all families at an affordable level. Over the course of the four years we have been a part of the program, Step Up for Students has helped ICS to continue to offer an outstanding Catholic education to the surrounding Tampa Bay community.”
-Michael Zelenka, Principal of Incarnation Catholic School, Tampa
“We have 30 foster children at our group home in Jacksonville and every single one of them attend Cornerstone Christian School on Step Up For Students Scholarships. Most of our children are very far behind academically and are at-risk for continuing down a negative path. Cornerstone Christian understands the specific educational and instructional needs of our children, and provides the necessary environment to help them cope both academically and behaviorally. The joint efforts of Cornerstone and the scholarship program have improved the quality of life for these children both in school and at the home.”
– Brandi Gonzales, M.Ed., Social Worker/Counselor at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Jacksonville Campus.
“It is time we produce an education system that is custom fit for each student to reach his or her potential and help get Florida back to work. That is why I support Step Up For Students. The work you do to help our children succeed is inspiring. You understand that no two students learn the same way and it is time we change the way our schools do business.”
– Gov. Rick Scott