Frequently Asked Questions
If your school is currently eligible to participate in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, your school will be eligible to participate in the Hope Scholarship Program. However, prior to accepting a student awarded a Hope Scholarship, your school will need to check the Hope Scholarship box on your school’s Department of Education private school log-in to indicate to the Department of Education that the school will participate.
No, the Hope Scholarship covers incidents reported beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
Scholarship funds for the Hope Scholarship are distributed in four payments per academic year and are mailed to the school’s physical address on file with the Florida Department of Education.
Prior to each scholarship payment, schools are required to verify their scholarship students by completing and submitting a Verification Report (VR) which requires schools to confirm the student’s attendance prior to the distribution of funds. Schools who complete the Verification Report will receive one scholarship check per student for that payment period. Scholarship checks are made payable to the parent and require their endorsement before they can be deposited. Parents and schools must abide by the Step Up For Students Check Cashing Policy included with each check package.
Please click here for the 2022-23 Verification Report and Payment Distribution Schedule.
Please click here for the Florida Tax Credit and Hope Scholarship Check Cashing Policy.
Please click here for the Florida Tax Credit and Hope Scholarship Check Reissue Policy.
What if my private school does not have the appropriate resources to best serve a student awarded a Hope Scholarship?
Private schools are not required to participate in the Hope Scholarship program. Your school will still maintain the ability to determine if you have the appropriate resources to best serve a student’s needs.
Private school scholarship option: The Hope Scholarship award amounts for the private school option for the 2021-22 school year are based on the student’s grade level and the county in which the student lives in based on their scholarship application.
Scholarship amounts may be prorated based on the following factors: date of award, date moved from the waitlist (if applicable), student’s first day of attendance, school’s first day or school’s date of compliance, whichever is latest.
The scholarship can be used towards the following school expenses, in this order until the maximum scholarship amount is reached:
4. Transportation services that occur during school hours (e.g. transportation services to/from school or for field trips)
6. Testing (e.g. standardized or entrance testing)
7. Other fees (e.g. graduation fees, yearbook fees, field trips. Services before or after school hours such as aftercare or sports are not covered.)
Transportation scholarship option: Families choosing the transportation option will receive up to $750, to assist with the cost of transportation to an out-of-district public school.
** Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third-party vendor.
Yes, scholarship amounts will be prorated based on the school’s first day, the student’s first day of attendance, the date that the school was deemed compliant by the Florida Department of Education or the date of approval, whichever is latest within the academic year.
After receiving their award letter, the parent/guardian should take the letter to the eligible, participating private school of their choice and a school administrator should submit a School Commitment Form. This notifies Step Up For Students of the student’s enrollment at the private school. Do not accept a student without an award letter unless you assume full responsibility for his/her tuition.
When a student withdraws from an eligible, participating private school during the academic year, an Exit Confirmation Form (ECF) must be completed and submitted within FIVE (5) business days of the student’s withdrawal.
Please contact Step Up for these forms.
For 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, whichever comes first. Once a child utilizes a Hope Scholarship, their scholarship funding will receive priority for the following year. Families will need to notify Step Up For Students of their plans to renew the scholarship.
No, the Hope Scholarship serves students who have been victims of bullying, violence and harassment in a K-12 public school, allowing those students to transfer to a different learning environment.