Florida Step-up Scholarship is one of the largest scholarship-granting organizations in the country, having been in operation since 2001 and offering two main scholarship programs: Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and Family Empowerment Scholarship.
Both scholarship programs are income based, providing students with financial aid for both private school tuition and transportation costs, as well as the chance to open an Educational Savings Accout (ESA) with an education service provider. Many families have asked if these scholarship funds could also cover virtual school courses or even an entire virtual curriculum.
Step Up for Students’ 2023-2024 school year scholarship offers students an innovative homeschool option that includes tuition as part of its Personalized Education Program (PEP). While this option offers great benefits, it should also be carefully considered in light of certain restrictions before making your choice.
To qualify for a Personal Education Plan (PEP), complete an online application with Step Up for Students and send your child to an eligible private school. They’ll enroll into their PEP through the Personalized Education Management System (PEM). After enrollment is complete, log back in to see how much of an available budget they have left to spend on educational services.
Homeschool parents seeking to use their scholarship for PEP must submit proof of tuition and mandatory fees, either an itemized receipt from your homeschool program or the front and back of a bank statement that shows annual tuition cost as well as any mandatory fees. You can also upload a screenshot from FACTS payment or write directly on the document that this transaction was for PEP funding.
The state legislature created PEP in order to expand educational choices for low-income families. While critics argue it will reduce funding to public schools, supporters maintain they should have the option to select a school which fits best their child’s needs and personality. Some funding was kept back for emergencies if enrollment exceeded expectations; however, according to Step Up for Students the cap will still likely be reached this year.