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Postcard 2020

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Florida Scholarships for Lower-Income Families​

Please note: When creating or logging in to your Step Up For Students account we strongly recommend using Google Chrome.

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:

Due to overwhelming demand for Step Up’s Income-Based Scholarships, we are no longer accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year.

2020-21 School Year:

New and renewal families may APPLY NOW for an Income-Based Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year by clicking on the button below.  (Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis in the order all documents are received, and funding is limited.)

IMPORTANT: Renewal Florida Tax Credit scholarship students had processing priority until February 29, 2020. Renewal families who apply on or after March 1, 2020, no longer have processing priority for their student meaning all applications, for renewal students AND new students, will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis in the order the application and all supporting documents are received. (A renewal student is one who is using the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for the 2019-20 school year.)

Note: For students using the income-based Family Empowerment Scholarship, please do not complete a Step Up For Students application. Please refer to the email sent to you in January 2020 by the Florida Department of Education explaining what needs to be done for your student for the 2020-21 school year.)

In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to assure that low-income children have more learning options. In May 2019, nearly 20 years later, the Family Empowerment Scholarship was created by the Florida Legislature to further help low-income children.

Both scholarships are based on financial need not how well your child does in school. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) allows families to choose between financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or with transportation costs to attend a public school in another district. The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) may only be used towards private school tuition and fees.

When applications are being accepted, they are processed in the order they are received (including all supporting documentation). Scholarships are awarded with priority given to renewal families followed by new families with the greatest financial need. For the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, renewal families have first-priority. Scholarships can be transferred to other eligible schools if the student moves within the state, or simply wants to attend a different participating private school.

Please note:

  • While the eligibility criteria between the programs vary, the application is the same for both.
  • Checks are sent directly to the school in which the enrolled child is attending and are never sent directly to any individuals.

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – Eligibility and Program Details

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship no longer has partial scholarships. All eligible students will now be awarded full scholarships.

The Florida Tax Credit Private School Option:

For new students, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship private school option for the 2019-20 school year is based on the student’s grade level and county. (Note: The county is the one the student lives in according to their 2019-20 scholarship application.)

For renewal students, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship private school option is the higher of either: 1) the student’s grade level and county the students resides in according to their 2019-20 scholarship applications OR 2) the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship amounts for the 2018-19 school year.

  • K- 5th grade —   $6,519
  • 6-8th grade —   $6,815
  • 9th-12th grade —   $7,111

Click here to view the 2019-20 income-based scholarship award chart.

The Florida Tax Credit private school option can be used towards the following fees, in this order, until all fees are covered OR the student’s maximum scholarship award amount is reached, whichever is less.

  1. Tuition
  2. Books**
  3. Registration
  4. Transportation
  5. Uniforms**
  6. Testing
  7. Other

** Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third-party vendor.

The Florida Tax Credit Transportation Option: 

With the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship transportation option, 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

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:

Age Eligibility:

Students entering Kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept. 1.

Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept.1.

Income Eligibility:

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.

Income-Guidelines_2020-21_FTC

View the income chart.

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.

Priority:

If the family income is more than the income criteria in the table below titled “priority,” the student, even if eligible, will be placed on a waiting list until all renewal families and new families whose income is under the “priority” table receive funds.

Income-Guidelines_2020-21_185

View the income priority chart.

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.

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 2020-21 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.

Required documents
Kindergarten or 1st gradeFoster care
  • Birth certificate or passport.
  • A copy of foster care placement paperwork.
  • A copy of the current foster care provider license issued by DCF.
Out of home careGroup home
  • The court order signed by the judge  and/or DCF placement paperwork
  • The administrator or director should complete the application for the student and submit the required paperwork.

Family Empowerment Scholarship – Eligibility and Program Details

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship no longer has partial scholarships. All eligible students will now be awarded full scholarships.

The Florida Tax Credit Private School Option:

For new students, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship private school option for the 2019-20 school year is based on the student’s grade level and county. (Note: The county is the one the student lives in according to their 2019-20 scholarship application.)

For renewal students, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship private school option is the higher of either: 1) the student’s grade level and county the students resides in according to their 2019-20 scholarship applications OR 2) the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship amounts for the 2018-19 school year.

  • K- 5th grade —   $6,519
  • 6-8th grade —   $6,815
  • 9th-12th grade —   $7,111

Click here to view the 2019-20 income-based scholarship award chart.

The Florida Tax Credit private school option can be used towards the following fees, in this order, until all fees are covered OR the student’s maximum scholarship award amount is reached, whichever is less.

  1. Tuition
  2. Books**
  3. Registration
  4. Transportation
  5. Uniforms**
  6. Testing
  7. Other

** Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third-party vendor.

The Florida Tax Credit Transportation Option: 

With the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship transportation option, 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

Income Eligibility: 

–        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.

Income-Guidelines_2020-21_FES

View the income chart.

–        The Family Empowerment Scholarship income level will serve students in households at $77,250 or below (for a family of four). Priority will be given to students whose incomes are below $46,637 (for a family of four).

Other eligibility requirements:

–        The student is eligible to enroll in kindergarten or has spent the prior school year (2018-19) in attendance at a Florida public school. Prior attendance means the student was enrolled in and attended a Florida public school during both the October and February student counts.

–        Note: A dependent child of a member of the military transferring from another state or from a foreign country due to a change of station is exempt from the prior public school attendance requirement

–        The student must be accepted and enrolled in a private school that is participating in the Family Empowerment Scholarship. Parents should contact the schools to inquire as to whether the private school will participate in the program

Children who are in foster care

–        A student who is/was placed at any time in foster 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 Florida law in statute 39.01(29).

·       A child who qualifies under this section, does not need to meet the income guidelines or the prior year public school requirement to be eligible

·       A child must be accepted in a participating, eligible private school



Children who are in out-on-home care

–        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 Florida law in statute 39.01(48).

·       “Out-of-Home Care” means the placement of a child in licensed and non-licensed settings, arranged and supervised by the DCF or contracted service provider, outside of the home of the parent, as defined by the Department of Children and Families Rule: 65C-30.001 Definitions. (91).

·       A child who qualifies under this section does not need to meet the income guidelines to be eligible

A child must be accepted in a participating eligible private school

For help regarding scholarship applications, please call the Contact Center at 877-735-7837.

A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION (CH-14609) AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1(800)435-7352 OR ON THEIR WEBSITE FDACS.GOV. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. SUFS SOLICITS 100 PERCENT OF ITS CONTRIBUTIONS AND DOES NOT CONTRACT PROFESSIONAL SOLICITORS.

© 2020. Step Up For Students, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), EIN: 59-3649371, P.O. Box 54429, Jacksonville, FL 32245-4367