WellCare Donates $3 Million to Step Up For Students Scholarship Program to Support Florida Schoolchildren
JANUARY 28, 2019
WellCare Health Plans, Inc., a leading provider of government-sponsored managed care services, announced on January 28 a $3 million contribution to Step Up For Students, funding 446 K-12 scholarships during the 2018-19 school year. The scholarships allow lower-income children the opportunity to attend the school that best meets their learning needs.
Since 2004, WellCare has generously funded nearly 3,560 scholarships through contributions totaling more than $16.5 million to Step Up For Students, a nonprofit organization that helps manage the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The program is funded by corporations with tax-credited donations.
“At WellCare, our mission is to help our members live better, healthier lives,” said Ken Burdick, WellCare’s CEO. “We do this by making connections to critical programs such as Step Up For Students to help ensure Florida schoolchildren have access to the educational opportunities they need for successful futures and healthy adulthoods.”
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for financially disadvantaged schoolchildren allows parents and schoolchildren to choose between a K-12 scholarship that helps with private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to out-of-county public schools.
“Because of companies like WellCare, Florida’s lower-income students are provided the educational options they need to succeed,” said Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students. “We are grateful for their partnership, generosity and commitment to helping students in their community.”
For the 2018-19 school year, Step Up For Students is serving more than 98,500 students throughout Florida with tuition scholarships valued at up to $6,519 per student for kindergarten through fifth grade, $6,815 for sixth through eighth grade, and $7,111 for ninth through 12th grade. More than 1,750 private schools participate in the scholarship program statewide.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses primarily on providing government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, as well as individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace. WellCare serves approximately 5.5 million members nationwide as of September 30, 2018. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company’s website at www.wellcare.com.
About Step Up For Students
Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization that helps administer the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Students who qualify for the national free or reduced-price lunch, or those who are homeless or in foster or out-of-home care, may qualify. The scholarship program provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or financial assistance to offset the transportation cost to an out-of-district public school. Since 2001, Step Up has awarded more than 680,000 scholarships.
A first-of-its-kind study on the long-term effects of the scholarship program by The Urban Institute found that students who use the scholarship four or more years are up to 43 percent more likely to go to college and up to 29 percent more likely to earn an associates degree than their peers.
Step Up also helps administer the state-funded Gardiner Scholarship for Florida students with certain special needs, plus two new scholarships, the Hope Scholarship for public school students who are bullied and the Reading Scholarship Accounts for third- through fifth-grade students enrolled in public school who struggle with reading.
For more information, visit: www.StepUpForStudents.org.