The State of Florida recently passed new legislation referred to as House Bill 1 (HB1). HB1 enables every Florida private school student to qualify for one of two state scholarships. Unlike the previous financial needs-based scholarship, income guidelines have been removed. This change means families who desire to attend a private school are eligible for state scholarships that would help fund tuition and fees regardless of their household’s income.
During the 23-24 school year, there are two Florida scholarships that will be administered.
Florida Tax Credit (FTC/FES-EO)
Specific to HB1, the Florida Tax Credit (FES-EO) scholarships will be available to all students who attend a private school, regardless of income. There will be budgetary limits for this scholarship so it is imperative that families apply soon and provide all required documentation if seeking a state scholarship which can be used to pay for private school tuition and fees. As an example, if tuition is $15,000 and the family receives a state scholarship of $7,000 used towards tuition, then the family would pay the variance of $8,000. We are hopeful that all our families will benefit from this most recent legislative change.
Unique Abilities (FES-UA)
The second scholarship is the FES-UA (formerly Gardiner) scholarship. This program requires that a student qualify based on an eligible medical diagnosis, an IEP, or a 504 plan. For more information, please visit Florida Unique Abilities Scholarship. If your child qualifies for this scholarship, funding is typically greater than the funding provided by the FTC/FES-EO scholarship.
As with prior years, there are two agencies that administer both scholarships: Step Up for Students and AAA Scholarships. We suggest that families apply to both agencies as they each have independent budgets.
AAA Scholarships is currently accepting applications for 23-24. You may apply by using their website: www.aaaScholarships.org.
The Step Up for Students application portal is currently open for renewing FES-UA and renewing FES EO/FTC students. (Please note the FES EO/FTC scholarship is now being referred to as the Private School and Transportation Scholarship). If you are a current recipient or new to Step Up, please use this link to log-in or to create a Step Up account.