Research & Reports

Research Highlights
Step Up For Students Scholarship Results

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship programs are the largest private school scholarship programs of their kind in the United States. This year, Step Up will serve more than 350,000 students throughout the state of Florida.

Scholarships for Private School Students

2023-24 Fast Facts:

126,028 students on the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship
130,599 students on the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options
Average scholarship worth about $7,800
More than 2,000 participating private schools

Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities

2023-24 Fast Facts

83,941 students on the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Unique Abilities
Average scholarship worth about $9,800

Scholarships for Home Education Programs

2023-24 Fast Facts

18,688 students on the Personalized Education Program (PEP)
Average scholarship worth about $7,800

New World’s Reading scholarship

2022-23 Fast Facts:

5,710 enrolled
$500 scholarship

Step Up For Students Financial Reports

Financial Audits

The state of Florida requires each Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO) to submit a financial and compliance audit performed by an independent certified public accountant each year. The report is submitted to the Auditor General and the Department of Education.

View Financial Audits

Auditor General Operational Audits

As of 2014, Section 11.45(2)(k), Florida Statutes requires the Auditor General to annually conduct an operational audit of the accounts and records of eligible nonprofit scholarship funding organizations.

View Auditor General Operational Audits

IRS Form 990

The Internal Revenue Service requires that each 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation file a statement of finances each year, known as Form 990. In previous years, the corporate name under which Step Up For Students operated was the Florida School Choice Fund.

View IRS Form 990

School Financial Reports

In 2010, the State Legislature required that every school receiving more than $250,000 in any given year hire an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to file a financial report by Sept. 15. The report, formally called Agreed Upon Procedures, is intended to ensure that the money is used for education-related expenses.

Agreed Upon Procedures

AUP Report to Department of Education

Educational Choice in Florida

Education choice isn’t just about charter schools or private schools anymore. Education choice is about giving parents a variety of options for their children and that’s where Florida excels.

Today, 1.7 million students in Florida attend schools of choice. Most students select from choice programs in their local school district including open enrollment, magnet schools, International Bachelorette programs and career and professional academies. Of these students 1.2 million are choosing options financed by taxpayers or corporate donors.

Scholarship programs run by Step Up For Students, such as the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, Hope Scholarship, Reading Scholarship, and the Family Empowerment Scholarship, constitute a small but vibrant part of Florida’s changing education landscape.

The Florida Pre-K Through 12 Education Landscape

Students in 658 Charter Schools privately operated under contract with districts.
Students in Open Enrollment in 53 school districts.
Students in Choice and Magnet programs at district schools.
Students in 2,689 Private Schools.
Students in Career and Professional Academies at 579 high schools.
Students awarded private PreKindergarten Scholarships for 4-year-olds.
Students awarded Tax Credit Scholarships for lower-income students at 1,825 private schools.
Students in Home Education while reporting results to districts.
Students in Advanced International Certificate programs for 11th and 12th graders.
Students awarded McKay Scholarships for special-needs students (30,695 in 1,525 private schools and 5,636 in district schools).
Students awarded Gardiner Scholarships for special-needs students.
Students in International Baccalaureate at district schools.
Students in full-time Virtual Instruction.
Students in Lab Schools run by five universities.
Students in School Transfers related to state or federal performance thresholds.
Students at High Schools of Their Choice


2018-19 Florida Department of Education data.

*The 2018-19 changing landscape cannot be compared with past years due to changes in Survey data.