K-12 Private School Scholarships in Florida

As mentioned in the article, Alternatives to Attending A Public School in Person in Florida, Private Schools are one of the possible alternatives to attending public schools from Kindergarten Through 12th Grade (K-12). Unfortunately, everyone is not able to afford the tuition for private school.

Florida Department of Education provides scholarships for private schools. There are a few types of scholarships and each scholarship has its own eligibility requirements. For your convenience, The Kid On The Go is providing you with a source of some scholarships provided by the State of Florida. This information includes their eligibility requirements for each scholarship. For additional details, please reference below.

Boy Smiling - McKay Scholarships

Mckay Scholarships 

The McKay Scholarship program was launched in 1999 for Students with Disabilities. This program enables parents to choose the best educational settings in the form of scholarships for their disabled children to attend the school of their choice

Eligibility Criteria

To receive the scholarship, kids must comply with Group A and any item from Group B.

  • Group A (Must comply with all of the following):
    • The student must have an active 504 Plan or Individual Education Plan ( a documented proof of disability)
    • You must apply PRIOR to withdrawing your kid from public school.


  • GROUP B (Must comply with one of the following:
    • The student must be a Florida public school student the year prior to receiving the scholarship.
    • In the year when the student receives the scholarship, the student should be between 5 and 22 years old by September 1st.
    • If the student was a in Pre-K, they should have received a Specialized Instructional Services by Office of Early Learning and was at least 4 years.
    • The student attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind the previous school.
    • The kid is a foster child.
    • The kids is a dependent of a member of the US Armed Forces who transfers to a school in Florida from out of the state or from a foreign country because of a guardian’s permanent change of station orders.

Contact Information

  • Contact the ESE Department for your school; or
  • The Department of Education’s School Choice Information Hotline
    • Phone: 800-447-1636.
    • Website: www.floridaschoolchoice.org

Mckay Scholarships FAQS

  1. Do First-Year Kindergarteners Deserve Mckay Scholarship?
    • Yes, they are eligible. Students with disabilities must have funding previously in by Florida Education Finance Program surveys.
  2. Are Gifted Students Eligible for The Mckay Scholarships?
    • No, they are not eligible for McKay Scholarships.
  3. How Parents Can Apply of Mckay Scholarships 
    • Parents can apply by logging on to their website the www.floridaschoolchoice.org. They just have to click the link, select the parent’s button, and follow the procedure.
    • You must apply PRIOR to withdrawing your kid from public school.
  4. How Long Does a Mckay Scholarship Last?
    • McKay Scholarship ends only when students:
      • Returns to a public school
      • Graduates from high school,
      • Reaches the age of 22,
      • Whichever option occurs first the scholarship will last
  5. How Are Payments of Mackey Scholarships Made?
    • Payments of these scholarships are made in four equal installments. Checks are given to parents or guardians. Parents are bound to deposits these personal warrants to the school’s account
Family Empowerments Scholarship - Mural of Kids

Family Empowerment Scholarship

Family Empowerment Scholarship Program of Florida enables public school students from low/ middle-income families to receive vouchers from attending private schools according to their ability and choice. This program was launched in 2019.

Eligibility Criteria

A student is eligible if they comply with one of the following for Group A and all of the items from Group B.

  • Group A (Must comply with one of the following)
    • Certified to receive food assistance, Florida Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits,
    • If students qualify for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). 
    • Students from families with a combined income not exceeding 300 percent of the federal poverty level
    • Students must be enrolled in the public school of Florida the year before applying.
    • The student was in foster care the previous fiscal year or is currently in foster care or in out of home care as defined in s.39.01.
    • EXCEPTION: If the kid does not meet any of the criteria indicated above, they must be a sibling of a student who is participating in the scholarship program under the eligibility criteria. Both kids must reside in the same household.


  • Group B (Must Comply wih all of the following)
    • Student is eligible for kindergarten.
    • The kid has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida Public school.

Once a student becomes a recipient of a Family Empowerment Scholarship, their eligibility is locked in until they graduate or hit the age of 21 years old. Even if the family’s income level has improved, they will retain eligibility.

Contact Information

The following organizations are approved to administer this scholarship

Family Empowerment Scholarship FAQs

  1. How can I apply for the Family Empowerment Scholarship?
    •  Parents who meet the requirements should first contact the scholarship funding organizations (SFOs) to complete the income verification process. If parents have been applied for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program, then they are not required for additional document submission for verification.
  2. What will the amount of Family Empowerment Scholarship?
    • The scholarship amount depends upon the grade level and district in which the student resides.
  3. Which Authority Will Verify Household Income?
  4. Can A Student Avail of The Family Empowerment Scholarship Along with Other Scholarships?
    • No students can’t avail of two scholarships at the same time.
  5. I’m A Student of Florida Virtual School Can I Apply for It.
    • No, you are not eligible for Family Empowerment Scholarship.
Girls Studying - Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC)

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) was launched and endorsed in 2001 for low-income families. This is the largest scholarship program in terms of student participation every year. Florida provides an income tax credit for corporations/ companies that contribute money to non-profit Scholarship-Funding Organizations (SFOs. Nonprofit Scholarship-Funding Organizations award scholarships to lower-income family’s children

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this scholarship, the kid must comply with one of the following:

  • A student who is currently or in the previous fiscal year placed on foster care, OR
  • A student who belongs to a family having a household income level of 260 percent of the federal poverty level.

Contact Information

The following organizations are approved to administer this scholarship

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) FAQs

  1. What Kind of Expenses This Scholarship Covers?
    • This scholarship covers tuition and fees for an eligible private school.
    • If a student resides outside the district the Transportation to a Florida public school
  2. How Is the Payment of This Scholarship Made?
    • The payment of scholarship is made through checks to the parents of students. Parents are bound to endorse checks to the school in which student is studying.
  3. What Is the Amount of Scholarship?
    •  a scholarship of $6,815 awarded to a student for enrollment in any private school of their choice
    • A scholarship of 750$ awarded to a student for enrollment in a Florida public school located outside the district where the student resides.
  4. How to Apply for The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship?
    •  For applying for this scholarship, visit the Department’s Online Application for Tax Credit. Fill the online form, and you will receive a number that notifies that department has received your application. Follow the directions on further correspondence from the department.
  5. A Student Studying in Florida Virtual School Can Get This Scholarship?
    • Not at all. such students are not eligible for this scholarship
Girl smiling related to Gardiner Scholarships

Gardiner Scholarship

This scholarship program is for children who have special needs or requirements. This scholarship program is named on Senate President Andy Gardiner, who led the legislative effort to launch this program. Senate President Andy Gardiner also has to daughters who have down syndrome. This scholarship can be used for specialized treatments like speech therapy.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this scholarship, the kid must comply with all of the items in Group A and one of the items in Group B.

  • Group A
    • The student must be a resident of Florida
    • Student must have an IEP written plan that complies with the State Board of Eduction.
    • The kid must be eligible for a grade between kindergarten and the 12th grade in a public school. The kid must also be 3 or 4 years old before September 1st.


  • Group B
    • This scholarship is for children with disabilities. Some of the disabilities include Autism, Muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, deaf and visually impaired. For further details reference here.
    • Students who have a medically diagnosed impairments, a physical or psychiatric condition.

Contact Information

The following organizations are approved to administer this scholarship

Gardiner Scholarship FAQs

  1. How to Apply for This Scholarship?
    • Contact Step Up For Students or AAA Scholarship Foundation
  2. What Is the Amount of Scholarship?
    • This amount can be approximately $10,000.
  3. Who Decides Eligibility?
  4. Can a Child Who Is Attending Public School Apply For This Scholarship
    • No, that is not possible.
Kids smiling in the hot sun - Hope Scholarship Fund

Hope Scholarship Fund

 This program is for the students who suffered from sexual abuse, bullying, or harassment at school. This scholarship as an opportunity for them to apply to an eligible private school rather than stud in an unsafe environment.

 Who Is Eligible for This Scholarship?

  • A kid who suffered from harassment, hazing, bullying, kidnapping, physical attack, robbery, sexual offenses, assault, battery, threat or intimidation or fighting.
  • The student must be a resident of the state.
  • Fulfill enrollment criteria of private school.

Hope Scholarship FAQS  

  1. How to Apply for the Hope Scholarship Program.
    • Students have to get the original, signed Hope Scholarship Program Incident Report Form principle of the school. Then decide where students want to go either in another public school or an eligible private school. For enrollment in public school, students have to contact the school district office. For funding to attend a private school student will need to contact SFO.
  2. How is Eligibility Decided for This Scholarship?
    • It requires Hope Notification Form signed by your principal and so in which you apply for funding.
  3. What Is the Scholarship Amount?
    •  For grades K-5 $6,519.00
    •  For grades six to eight $6,815.00
    •  For grades nine to -twelve $7,112.00
  4. When Will Hope Scholarship Program End?
    • A Hope scholarship will end when the student returns to public school or graduates from high school.
  5.  Can the Gardiner Scholarship be combined with Hope scholarship?
    •  No, they can not be combined.
Smiling Kids - AAA Scholarship Foundation


The Kid On The Go hopes this article will guide you in exploring alternatives to public schools in these coronavirus pandemic days. On the other hand, you will get valuable information regarding tuition, scholarships, and free education options. Choose wisely by keeping in mind your child’s needs and capabilities.

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