Florida created the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship in 2001 to give low-income students one learning option that is not available to them because of their financial circumstances. It allows them to consider whether a private school might be a better fit academically.
The program served 99,641 students in 1,807 private schools throughout the state during the 2015-16 school year, and the mix is truly eclectic. The schools that have chosen to join the cause of helping underprivileged students run the gamut – everything from the six-student Walden Middle School in Gulfport to the 1,512-student Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School in Fort Lauderdale. The average school in the 2014-2015 school year has 56 scholarship students.
Is black or Hispanic: Some 29 percent of students are black and 39 percent Hispanic. Roughly 26 percent are white and another 4 percent identify as multi-racial.
Lives with one parent: Fifty-four percent of the scholarship children are from single-parent households.
Has struggled academically: A state-commissioned researcher has determined that scholarship students “tend to be among the lowest-performing students in their prior school, regardless of the performance level of their public school.”