Florida Income-Based Scholarships Give K-12 Students Educational Options

Scholarship Fast Facts

2023-24 Fast Facts:

127,689 students enrolled on the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC).

134,150 students enrolled on Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES-EO).

18,688 students with the Personalized Education Program scholarship (PEP).

Average household income of $86,000 for a family of four.

56% Black or Hispanic.

39% of students live in single-parent households.

2,187 participating private schools.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES-EO)

Florida’s two private school scholarship programs, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES-EO) give students learning options not available to them because of their financial circumstances.

Both programs provide private school scholarships or help with transportation costs to an out-of-district public school.

Florida also offers the first-of-its-kind education savings account program for parents wishing to provide a home education program for their child called the Personalized Education Program (PEP).

Urban Institute Study

A first-of-its-kind student on the long-term effects of the scholarship program found that FTC scholarship students are up to 43 percent more likely to go to college and up to 29 percent more likely to earn an associate's degree. See fact sheet here.

Florida Department of Education Reports

More than a decade of research by academics at the University of Florida, Northwestern University and now Florida State University, have found that once on the scholarship program, students who had been struggling academically now maintain pace with the average student nationally.

The Typical Student

Average Household Income

The average student lives in a household of four earning about $86,000 a year. More than 108,000 students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.

Black or Hispanic

20 percent of students are Black and 36 percent are Hispanic. About 60 percent of students are nonwhite.

Lives with one parent

39 percent of students live in 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.”

The Typical School

Small in size

The average total enrollment is 155 students.

Scholarships growing in popularity

53 percent of students are using a scholarship to help pay tuition.

Serves elementary students

Of the more than 183,000 students served, 31 percent of all scholarship students are in grades K-2 and 51 percent are in grades K-5.

Faith-based

61 percent of private schools identified as religious, though 82 percent of all students attend a religious school. Catholic schools are the single largest religious group.

Transparency and Legal Requirements

Scholarship students are tested

Every scholarship student in grades 3-10 is required to take a nationally norm-referenced test approved by the state.

Academic gains are measured and reported

A University of Florida research team each year publicly reports the test gains in reading and math, both statewide and for schools with at least 30 students.

Scholarship money is monitored

Every school receiving more than $250,000 in scholarship money each year must file a financial report by an independent CPA.

The History of Choice in Florida

Read Program History

Florida Scholarship Law

Florida’s education choice programs are governed in the Florida Statutes chapter 1002. In 2001, the main law was 1,332 words. In 2022, it was 27,406 (governed by 1002.394, 1002.395, 1002.40, 1002.42 and 1002.421.)

Read more about program rules and accountability here.

The Impact on the Florida Budget

The March 2010 State Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability report uncovered two remarkable findings on how the the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program saves taxpayer money:

  1. For fiscal year 2008-2009, the scholarship program saved taxpayers $36.2 million and,
  2. For every $1 lost to tax credits, the state saved $1.44. “While the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program reduces the amount of tax revenues received by the state, it produces a net fiscal benefit,” the report found, “This occurs because education spending for students receiving scholarships is reduced by more than the amount of revenue lost.”

According to Florida Tax Watch, during the 2017-18 school year, the FTC scholarship was worth $0.59 for every $1 spent on public education from all sources. For more information on costs and savings regarding the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship see the Cost Savings Fact Sheet.

Reports

Academics

In 2006, the State Legislature required that every scholarship student take a nationally norm-referenced test approved by the state Department of Education (DOE) every year. Those test scores are reported to a research team that is under contract with DOE to write an annual evaluation. Evaluations are currently done by researchers at the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University.

Long-Term Effects

Financial Impact of FTC Scholarships

Quarterly DOE Enrollment Reports

Annual Accountability Reports

Annual School Reports

Other Reports

Step Up For Students
Income-Based Scholarship Growth

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