Interest runs high for Florida state scholarships

Applications for two state scholarship programs – the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options – reached new milestones Friday, bringing the number of low- and middle-income students attending K-12 private schools on a state scholarship to 150,180.

That’s nearly double the number of students served since 2015, according to Step Up For Students, the nonprofit organization that administers the scholarships.

Another 23,018 students utilize the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities, an education savings account program formerly known as the Gardiner Scholarship.

Both the Florida Tax Credit program, created in 2001, and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options, created in 2019, serve students who live in households earning at or below 375% of the poverty line, or about $99,375 for a family of four.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options program also allows dependents of members of the military and siblings of students on the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities scholarship to apply without income verification. Both FTC and FES-EO scholarship programs allow children in foster care, out-of-home care, or who are homeless to receive scholarships without income verification.

The Florida Tax Credit program is funded through corporate contributions. Florida corporations receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to scholarship funding organizations, which award scholarships to low-income students. The Family Empowerment Scholarship is funded by the state of Florida.

Scholarship values vary by grade level and county, but average about $7,300.

Income-based scholarships for the 2021-22 school year are still available. Parents and guardians can apply to Step Up For Students for a scholarship here.

 

*updated to reflect that students who are homeless can also qualify for scholarships without income verification.

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