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Does Your Child Qualify for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program?

Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization that helps administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC). The scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and empower families to customize their children's education.

About Step Up For Students

Step Up For Students provides legislatively authorized scholarships and related support to give families who are low-income or have children with special needs the freedom to choose the best learning options for their children.



Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer two scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for low-income families and the Gardiner Scholarship, previously known as the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) for children with certain special needs.

The FTC scholarship program was created to benefit children whose educational options are limited by household income. The scholarships are not tied to the performance of public schools nor the students who receive them. The program is different primarily because it directly targets students with the fewest options available.

The Gardiner Scholarship helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs.
  • SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOLARSHIPS (GARDINER)
  • INCOME-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS (FTC)

The Special Needs Scholarship


The Gardiner Scholarship program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs.

A different kind of scholarship: The Gardiner Scholarship is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.

The Gardiner Scholarship amount varies according to grade and county of residence. The average amount for most students in the 2015-2016 school year is $10,000, and is based on a matrix level of 253.

Eligibility Requirements
For The Special Needs Scholarship


This scholarship is for Florida students 3 years old through 12th grade or age 22, whichever comes first, with one of the following disabilities: autism spectrum disorder, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome or intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment).

Also, students in kindergarten deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays and not older than 5 on Sept. 1 may be eligible for the year they apply.
  • Students need an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a Florida school district or a formal diagnosis from a Florida licensed physician or psychologist.
  • Students must be at least 3 or 4 on or before Sept 1. Students entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept 1. Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept 1.
  • Students can participate in the Gardiner Scholarship program as part of home education. However, they cannot be enrolled in a public school or receive any other state-sponsored scholarship (McKay Scholarship or the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship).

What Parents & Students Are Saying:

Joel receives the (FTC) income-based scholarship

Liam receives the Gardiner special needs scholarship.

Braelyn receives the (FTC) income-based scholarship.

Sara receives the Gardiner special needs scholarship.

Briana & Jeremiah receive the (FTC) income-based scholarships.

Daniel receives the Gardiner special needs scholarship.

Shawnay receives the (FTC) income-based scholarship.

Julian receives the Gardiner special needs scholarship.

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