The following information is from the Florida Department of Education:
On May 11, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 7045 into law, resulting in several changes to the state funded scholarship programs, including an extensive expansion of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program.
House Bill 7045 expanded the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program to include two branches of eligibility, the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Disabilities.
Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options
This branch of the scholarship eligibility is based on family income. The administration of this prong of the program will continue to remain the same with a few exceptions. Additionally, program eligibility has expanded and the prior year in public requirement was removed. While families are still required to apply through the scholarship funding organizations, the scholarship funding organization is responsible for determining eligibility and awarding as well as distributing funding to eligible students.
Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities
Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, the Gardiner Scholarship Program has been rolled into the Family Empowerment Scholarship and will be referred to as the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA).
As was done with the Gardiner Scholarship Program, students who are found eligible under this branch are able to use their funds as an education savings account. This means funding can be used beyond just tuition and fees at a private school. Families are required to apply and renew through the scholarship funding organizations. The scholarship funding organization is responsible for determining eligibility, awarding and distributing funding to eligible students and approving eligible expenditures.
If you are interested in applying for either the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options or the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities, please contact one of the two scholarship funding organizations that administers these programs:
A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation- FL, LLC
P.O. Box 15719, Tampa, FL 33684
Step Up For Students
P.O. Box 54367
Jacksonville, FL 32245-4367
Please contact the Supervisor of School Choice, Dawn Williams, at 352-797-7000, extension 448, if you have any questions regarding your student's public school scholarship opportunities.
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. For more information, please visit FLDOE School Choice