With a Step Up For Students Scholarship your K-12 student has more school options.

More than 784,000 scholarships have been provided to lower-income Florida students in grades K-12 since 2001. Could your child be next?

Income-Based Scholarships

With a Step Up For Students Scholarship your K-12 student has more school options.

More than 784,000 scholarships have been provided to lower-income Florida students in grades K-12 since 2001. Could your child be next?

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

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 are 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, are 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.)

If your student is using the Family Empowerment Scholarship for the 2019-20 school year, 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. If you do not see this email, please contact the Florida Department of Education.

About The Florida Tax Credit and
Family Empowerment Scholarships

In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to assure that lower-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 lower-income children.

Both scholarships are based on financial need and 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 other than the one the student is assigned to attend. 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). Please note:

  • – For the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, renewal students have first priority.
  • – Step Up For Students is required by Florida statute to give priority to lower-income families, meaning any families with an income greater than 185% will be placed on a waitlist until available funding is determined. Income guidelines can be found below.
  • – Note: If a family’s income is found to be between 261% – 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the student is not eligible for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship but may be eligible for the Family Empowerment Scholarship.

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.
  • – Scholarship checks for private school tuition and fees are sent directly to the school in which the enrolled child is attending and are never sent directly to any individuals.

Eligibility and Program Details

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship
FAQ Eligibility and Program Details

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – Private School Option:

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

For renewal students who received scholarship funds during the 2018-19 school year, 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 current scholarship application OR 2) the amounts listed below.

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

Please click here to view the 2020-21 income-based scholarship award chart.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship 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. 1. Tuition
  2. 2. Books**
  3. 3. Registration
  4. 4. Transportation
  5. 5. Uniforms**
  6. 6. Testing
  7. 7. Other

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

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – Transportation Option: 

With the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship transportation option, families can choose a scholarship  to assist with the cost of transportation to a  public school other than the one the student is assigned to attend. 

The transportation scholarship award amount for the 2020-21 school year is $750.

Families interested in this option should complete the Step Up For Students income-based application. If awarded a scholarship, the family should email FTCTransportation@sufs.org for next steps.

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 other than the one the student is assigned to attend.

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.

View the income chart.

Priority:
If the family income is more than the income criteria in the table linked below titled “income priority chart,” 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.

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.

There is no income threshold for homeless students to qualify; however

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

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 current 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 have any questions, please call the contact center for more information regarding eligibility.

 
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
FAQ Eligibility and Program Details

The Family Empowerment Scholarship can only be used toward private school tuition and fees. Family Empowerment Scholarship award amounts are based on the student’s grade level and county. (Note: The county is the one the student lives in according to their current scholarship application.)

Please click here to view the 2020-21 income-based scholarship award chart.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship be used towards the following private school fees, in this order, until all fees are covered OR the student’s maximum scholarship award amount is reached, whichever is less.

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

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

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.

View the income chart.

  • – (EXAMPLE) For a family of four: The Family Empowerment Scholarship income level will serve students in households at $78,600 or below. Priority will be given to students whose incomes are below $48,470.

Other eligibility requirements:

  • – The student is eligible to enroll in kindergarten or has spent the prior school year 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

 

  • – 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).
    •  
    • – 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 Frequently Asked Questions for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, click here.

For Frequently Asked Questions for the Family Empowerment Scholarship, click here.

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