Scholarships For Private School

Eligibility & Program Details

What to know

  • In order to assure timely processing for a full scholarship, Step Up needs to receive the application and all required documents by June 1, 2021. Step Up will continue to accept applications after June 1, but cannot assure those received after that date will be processed in time to receive a full award.
  • Applications are processed in the order they are received (including all supporting documentation).
  • While the eligibility criteria between the programs vary, the application is the same for both.
  • Eligible children form higher-income households are typically eligible for the Family Empowerment Scholarship, and lower-income children are typically eligible for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.
  • For the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, renewal students have first priority.
  • Step Up For Students is required by Florida law to give priority to lower-income families, meaning eligible higher-income families will be placed on a waitlist until available funding is determined.
  • Scholarships can be transferred to other eligible schools if the student moves within the state, or simply wants to attend a different participating private school.
  • Scholarship payments for private school tuition and fees are sent directly to the school in which the enrolled child is attending and are never sent directly to any individuals.

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – Private School Option:

For new students, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship private school option is based on the student’s grade level and county. (Note: The county is the one the student lives in according to their current scholarship application.)

If you were a renewal student in the 2019-20 year and forward, you will be awarded the greater of the current award amount OR the amount on the chart below.

  • K- 5th grade —   $6,519
  • 6-8th grade —   $6,815
  • 9th-12th grade —   $7,111

View the 2020-21 Scholarship Award Chart

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship private school option can be used towards the following fees, in this order, until all fees are covered OR the student’s maximum scholarship award amount is reached, whichever is less.

  1. 1. Tuition
  2. 2. Books**
  3. 3. Registration
  4. 4. Transportation
  5. 5. Uniforms**
  6. 6. Testing
  7. 7. Other

** Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third-party vendor.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship – Transportation Option: 

With the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship transportation option, families can choose a scholarship to assist with the cost of transportation to a public school other than the one the student is assigned to attend.

The transportation scholarship award amount for the 2020-21 school year is $750.

Families interested in this option should complete the Step Up For Students income-based application.
If awarded a scholarship, the family should email FTCTransportation@sufs.org for next steps.

View the 2020-21 Transportation Payment Distribution Schedule

Income Eligibility:
  • If a member of the household receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may qualify.
  • If the household income qualifies for free or reduce-priced lunch, the student may qualify.
  • If the household income is at or below the income criteria, the student may qualify.
Please note: Applications are processed in the order they are received, including all supporting documentation. Scholarships are awarded with a priority given to renewal families followed by new families with the greatest financial need.
Age Eligibility:
  • Students entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept. 1.
  • Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept. 1.
  • A child who is homeless and is entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept. 1.
  • A child who is homeless and is entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept. 1.
There is no income threshold for homeless students to qualify; however the family must provide documentation to validate the child’s homeless status.

Acceptable documentation includes:
A letter/document on letterhead written and signed by the homeless liaison in the public school district to which the child is assigned or by the Owner/Executive Director of the shelter or transitional housing facility of which the family resides.

Documentation must include:
  • Child’s name
  • Effective date(s)
  • Signature of the local educational liaison or the director of the homeless shelter
A student who is/was placed at any time in foster care or out-of-home care during the current OR previous state fiscal year may be eligible (the state fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30).

A child in foster care is defined by the following:
  • “Foster care” means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof, as defined by s. 39.01(29).
A child in out-of-home care placement is defined by the following:
  • “Out-of-home” means a placement outside of the home of the parents or a parent, as defined by s. 39.01(48).
  • “Out-of-Home care” means the placement of a child in licensed and non-licensed settings, arranged and supervised by the department or contracted service provider, outside of the home of the parent, as defined by DCF Rule: 65C-30.001 Definitions. (91).
These students may apply at any time during the school year as long as funds are available. If you are interested in applying for the current school year, please call us at 877-735-7837 and we’ll help you get started. 

If you have questions on whether a child in your care may be eligible, please call our contact center for more information at 877-735-7837.

Required Documents:
Kindergarten or 1st grade Foster care
  • Birth certificate or passport.
  • A copy of foster care placement paperwork.
  • A copy of the current foster care provider license issued by DCF.
Out of home care Group home
  • The court order signed by the judge  and/or DCF placement paperwork
  • The administrator or director should complete the application for the student and submit the required paperwork.

Family Empowerment Scholarship

The Family Empowerment Scholarship can only be used toward private school tuition and fees. Family Empowerment Scholarship award amounts are based on the student’s grade level and county. (Note: The county is the one the student lives in according to their current scholarship application.)

View the 2020-21 Scholarship Award Chart

The Family Empowerment Scholarship be used towards the following private school fees, in this order, until all fees are covered OR the student’s maximum scholarship award amount is reached, whichever is less.

  1. 1. Tuition
  2. 2. Books**
  3. 3. Registration
  4. 4. Transportation
  5. 5. Uniforms**
  6. 6. Testing
  7. 7. Other

** Applicable for books and uniforms sold by the school, not a third-party vendor.

Income Eligibility: 
  • If a member of the household receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may qualify.
  • If the household income qualifies for free or reduce-priced lunch, the student may qualify.
  • If the household income is at or below the income criteria, the student may qualify.
(EXAMPLE) For a family of four: The Family Empowerment Scholarship income level will serve students in households at $78,600 or below. Priority will be given to students whose incomes are below $48,470.
  • The student is eligible to enroll in kindergarten or has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school. Prior attendance means the student was enrolled in and attended a Florida public school during both the October and February student counts.
  • Note: A dependent child of a member of the military transferring from another state or from a foreign country due to a change of station is exempt from the prior public school attendance requirement
  • The student must be accepted and enrolled in a private school that is participating in the Family Empowerment Scholarship. Parents should contact the schools to inquire as to whether the private school will participate in the program
A student who is/was placed at any time in foster care during the current OR previous state fiscal year may be eligible (The state fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.)

A child in foster care is defined by the following:
  • “Foster care” means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof, as defined by Florida law in statute 39.01(29).
  • A child who qualifies under this section, does not need to meet the income guidelines or the prior year public school requirement to be eligible
  • A child must be accepted in a participating, eligible private school
A child in out-of-home care placement is defined by the following:
  • “Out-of-home” means a placement outside of the home of the parents or a parent, as defined Florida law in statute 39.01(48).
  • Children and Families Rule: 65C-30.001 Definitions. (91).
A child who qualifies under this section does not need to meet the income guidelines to be eligible.

A child must be accepted in a participating eligible private school

Families may APPLY NOW for the 2021-22 school year.

IMPORTANT: In order to assure timely processing for a full scholarship, Step Up needs to receive the application and all required documents by June 1, 2021. Step Up will continue to accept applications after June 1 but cannot assure those received after that date will be processed in time to receive a full award.
Note: We are no longer accepting applications or supporting documents for the 2020-21 school year.