Interested in Florida school vouchers? Here’s what to know

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed universal school choice bill into law earlier this year

Click Orlando | By Anthony Talcott & Treasure Roberts | July 12, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a school choice bill into law earlier this year, which expands scholarship opportunities for private school vouchers to all Florida families.

The law expands the eligibility of the state’s Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and Family Empowerment Scholarship to any Florida resident who is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through 12th grade in a public school.

The vouchers provide students K-12 with a scholarship worth an average of $7,700 to attend a private school better suited to their academic needs. The funds can be used for tuition along with other related expenses, including books, testing and registration.

Likewise, the vouchers can be used to give K-12 students the option to attend another public school that is a better fit than the one to which they’ve originally been assigned. Students who meet the income requirements are able to receive at least $750 to pay for transportation.

Additionally, scholarship funds can be used to put children into private schools or homeschool them. There are vouchers for students with unique abilities, students impacted by bullying and the general population of students, too.

The law gives priority to students from households that have incomes under 185% of the federal poverty line, and it provides second priority to households with incomes at or under 400% of the poverty line.

Parents can apply for the scholarships through Step Up for Students, a nonprofit in charge of handling the applications. To do so, parents must have the following materials:

  • Proof of Florida residency — either a valid driver’s license or a recent utility bill
  • Social Security Number
  • Birth certificate for the respective student
  • Proof of income for all members of the household over the age of 18
  • Families who receive more money in a voucher than is required for schooling can put those residual funds toward other education expenses, including tutoring or a summer enrichment program.

    On the flipside, families who receive less money in a voucher than is required for tuition will be expected to pay the difference.

    According to President Doug Tuthill of Step Up for Students, there’s high demand for these vouchers among Florida families, with over 300,000 scholarships already being approved.

    “Every child is unique, and what we’re seeing is parents are looking for educational environments that fit the needs of each child…” he told News 6. “We want to make sure every family, regardless of their situation, can find the right learning environment for their child.”

    There, parents can choose between these scholarships, create an account (which will later be your education savings account) and send in their applications.

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