The State of Florida provides families with several scholarship options to assist with funding for special education. Below you will find a brief overview of each scholarship and a link for more information.
John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program
Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program allows public school students with disabilities or 504 plans to receive vouchers to attend private schools or other public schools. The value of the average voucher is approximately $6,000. You can apply here.
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
The Florida Department of Education provides the following information about the Tax Credit Scholarship Program:
To encourage private, voluntary contributions, to expand educational opportunities for children of families that have limited financial resources and to enable children in this state to achieve a greater level of excellence in their education, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
The law provides for state tax credits for contributions to nonprofit scholarship funding organizations, called SFOs. The SFO’s then award scholarships to eligible children of families that have limited financial resources. The tax credit cap for the current year is $357,812,500. The tax credit cap amount will increase to $447,265,625 for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
The Gardiner Scholarship Program
The Gardiner Scholarship Program allows parents to better meet the individual educational needs of his or her eligible child. The Gardiner Scholarship provides eligible students a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products through approved providers which includes schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum and technology. The amount of a child’s Gardiner Scholarship is dependent on a number of different factors, including grade level, county of residence, and a student’s individual level of need. The average for the 2014-15 school year is approximately $10,000. Click here for more information.
Family Empowerment Scholarship
The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) Program is one of Florida’s greatest victories for low-income and working-class families, and it is the first of its kind to extend support to middle-income families. Following the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 7070, which creates the FES Program and provides 18,000 students life-changing education opportunities for academic and career success.
The FES Program will provide an educational lifeline to students waiting for an opportunity to find the school that will best work for them and puts more parents in the driver’s seat to determine the best educational environments for their children. Click here for more information.
The Hope Scholarship
Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, a student enrolled in a Florida public school in kindergarten through grade 12 who has been subjected to an incident of battery; harassment; hazing; bullying; kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses, harassment, assault, or battery; threat or intimidation; or fighting at school the opportunity to transfer to another public school with capacity or enroll in an approved private school under the Hope Scholarship.
The law provides for eligible sales tax contributions from the purchase of a motor vehicle to eligible nonprofit scholarship funding organizations (SFOs). Contingent upon available funds, the SFOs then award the scholarships to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis.
For the 2018-19 school year, Step Up For Students will be the only Scholarship Funding Organization administering this scholarship program. Click here for more information.