Welcome to Step Up For Students Florida!


    Per Florida Statute SB2126; “Owner or operator” includes: 
    An owner, operator, superintendent, or principal of an eligible private school or a person with equivalent decision making authority over an eligible private school.

    An eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization:
    May not …provide scholarships to a child of an owner or operator.
  • MILITARY MEMBERS: If there is a deployed service member in your household, please click here for a list of additional requirements
    Due to new legislative changes Military families can now apply year round. If you need to apply please contact us at 1-877-735-7837.

    Determining your household members:

    Any member of the armed services who is activated or deployed in support of any military combat operation is counted as a household member.

    Determining your household income

    Only the service member’s base pay will be counted as income.

    Validating Documentation:

    Copy of service member’s LES representing the income for the month of application submission or the month prior to application submission showing the dates of deployment

    * For the purposes of eligibility “deployment” is defined as a term of six months or longer.
  • SELF-EMPLOYMENT: If someone is self-employed, please click here for a list of additional requirements
    Determining your household income:
    •  Self-employed persons are credited with net income rather than gross income. Net income for self-employment is determined by subtracting business expenses from gross receipts.
    • Gross receipts include the total income from goods sold or services rendered by the business.
    • Deductible business expenses include the cost of goods purchased, rent, utilities, depreciation charges, wages and salaries, paid, and business taxes (not personal, Federal, State, or local income taxes).
    • Net income for self-employed farmers is figured by subtracting the farmer’s operating expenses from the gross receipts.
    •  Gross receipts include the value of all products sold; money received from the rental of farm land, buildings, or equipment to others, and incidental receipts from the sale of items such as wood, sand, or gravel.
    • Operating expenses include cost of feed, fertilizers, seed and other farming supplies, cash wages paid to farmhands, depreciation charges, cash rent, interest on farm mortgages, farm building repairs, and farm taxes (but not local, State, and Federal income taxes).
    • Households with income from wages and self-employment must enter the income from each source separately.
    • If households with income from wages and self-employment have a business lost, wages may not be reduced by the amount of the business loss.
    • If income from self-employment is negative, it should be listed as zero income.

    -Eligibility Manual for School Meals, October 2011

    Validating Documentation:
    • A copy of the most recent month’s Profit & Loss / Income & Expense statement.
    • If the most recent month’s P&L is not an accurate representation of the household’s self-employment income a copy of the prior year’s 1040, including all applicable schedules can be submitted.
  • CHILDREN IN FOSTER OR OUT-OF-HOME CARE: If you have children in foster or out-of-home care in your household, please click here for additional information
    Out-of-home care is defined as:

    The placement of a child in licensed and non-licensed settings, arranged and supervised by the department of children and families or contracted service provider, outside the home of the parent.

    Determining your household members:

    In a household with both children in foster/out-of-home care and those that are not in either of these programs, the children in foster/out-of-home care are counted as members of the household.

    Determining your household income:

    In a household with children in foster care and those that are not, any PERSONAL income the child in foster care receives must be counted in the household’s income.
    In a household with children in foster/out-of-home care and those that are not, payments received from the foster/out-of-home care agency for the care of these children is NOT counted in the household’s income.

     - Eligibility Manual for School Meals, October 2011

    Validating Documentation:

    Children in foster care
    • A copy of your current Foster Parent License, issued by the Department of Children and Families

    • A copy of the placement papers for the child/ren in foster care

    Children in out-of-home care
    • A copy of the placement papers for the child/ren in out-of-home care

    • A copy of the court order, fully executed and signed by the judge, placing the child in your care
    If you are unable to provide copies of one of these documents, please complete the application and submit it to SUFS. The processing team may be able to validate the information directly through DCF.
  • FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOL: If you are awarded a Step Up For Students scholarship and your student desires to continue taking Florida Virtual School classes, s/he CANNOT take more than TWO courses during the school year. If the student takes more than TWO virtual classes during the school year, s/he will forfeit the Step Up For Students scholarship
  • STUDENT WITH AN IEP OR 504 PLAN: If you are applying for a student with a Public School IEP or one that is on the 504 plan, or a child with a special need, please click here for more information
    The McKay Scholarship Program

    The McKay Scholarship Program has been expanded to include children with disabilities who have an IEP or are on a 504 plan in the public school. The McKay Scholarship is the largest state program in the nation that provides funding for students with disabilities at attend other public or private schools with programs for students with disabilities. Scholarship range from $5200 to $17000.
    To participate in the State of Florida McKay Scholarships a parent must submit their letter of intent to the Florida Department of Education. Information about how to submit the letter of intent and the deadlines for submission can be found at the Florida Department of Education’s website: www.floridaschoolchoice.org.

    Gardiner Scholarship Program (PLSA)

    In June of 2014 Gov. Scott signed into law an expansion of school choice options for families in Florida. The Gardiner Scholarship Program is designed for students in public, private or home education with one of the following disabilities:
    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Down syndrome
    • Muscular dystrophy
    • Prader-Willi syndrome
    • Spina bifida
    • Williams syndrome
    • Phelan McDermid
    • Intellectual Disability (severe cognitive impairment)
    • Kindergarteners deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays

    To learn more about this new program and how to apply, please visit our website at www.stepupforstudents.org.

    A student CAN NOT receive the McKay Scholarship, the Gardiner Scholarship and/or the Florida Tax Credit scholarship at the same time. Not all private schools accept these scholarship programs.
  • HOMELESS FAMILIES: If your family is currently homeless, please click here for more information
    A child is considered homeless if s/he is lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act by the local educational agency liaison, or by the director of a homeless shelter. This definition includes:
    • Children and youths you are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
    • Children and youths who are living in emergency or transitional shelters, are abandoned in hospitals, or are awaiting foster care placement;
    • Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
    • Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
    • Migratory children who qualify as homes because the children are living in the circumstances described above.

    - Eligibility Manual for School Meals, October 2011

    Validating Documentation:

    The determination of whether your child meets this definition is made by the school district’s homeless liaison. If your family meets this definition, please submit the following document/s with your application package:
    • A document signed by the local education liaison or the director of a homeless shelter that includes the following: 
      • The name/s of the children
      • The effective date/s of homelessness
  • NEW STUDENT APPLICANTS: A NEW student applicant is a student who is not currently on the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, the Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA) program or McKay Scholarship:
    • Students entering kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 1st.
    • Students entering 1st grade must be 6 years old by September 1st.