McKay Scholarship

Transitioning from the McKay Scholarship to the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA)

Welcome McKay Scholarship families! We are excited you are joining the Step Up For Students family and look forward to helping your student as they continue their academic journey.

As you may know, on July 1, 2021, new legislation went into effect that consolidated the number of scholarship programs by rolling the Gardiner Scholarship and McKay Scholarship into the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA). This happened in two phases:

    • In the 2021-22 school year, students who benefited from the Gardiner Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year transitioned to the FES-UA program.
    • In the 2022-23 school year, students who have received the McKay Scholarship to attend a private school will need to transition to the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities, or FES-UA.

Step Up For Students is committed to making this transition as easy as possible for McKay families and their students. We want to assure you that all McKay students who remain eligible for the 2022-2023 school year will have funding through the FES-UA program!

  • Secure your student’s 2022-23 scholarship. It is time to transition your McKay student(s) to the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA) program for the 2022-23 school year! This is a simple and easy process that should only take a few minutes.
      • BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Click here for a step-by-step guide of the FES-UA “Intent to Continue” for McKay families. We strongly encourage you to refer to these steps as you move through the process.  
          • You should not be asked to submit documents for a McKay student who used the scholarship for the 2021-22 school year. If you are, it may be because your student’s name and birthdate did not match the record on file with the FLDOE. Please contact us at to let us know and we’ll help you complete your transition.
          • We have processes in place to ensure you hear from us quickly. In fact, many families can see their scholarship status immediately upon submitting their “Intent to Continue.” After submitting, click on the “Application Status” tab and then select “August 2022-June 2023.”
      • AWARD AMOUNTS: Students who utilized the McKay Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year will be grandfathered in, meaning their 2022-23 award amount will be either the amount they received for their 2020-21 McKay award OR the 2022-23 FES-UA award amount for their matrix level, whichever is higher.
  • Verify your preferred email with Step Up For Students! You should be receiving emails from Step Up For Students. If you are not, please visit to submit your contact information.
  • Add us as a contact. Please add to your email contacts to avoid missing future important updates.
We’re excited for the opportunity to be part of your student’s academic journey!

Please click here to see FAQs from the Florida Department of Education.

Click here to see the email that the Florida Department of Education sent to McKay families on 2/15/22. 

Click here to watch a video that explains what an Educational Savings Account (ESA) is.

Click here to see the current Parent Handbook for the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA).

For questions, please contact us via email at, or call our Service Center at 877-735-7837, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to Noon ET.

You may also utilize our online chat feature.