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Florida School Choice Programs

Florida currently has 3 Scholarship Programs available for School Choice

MAY 1st Deadline

  1.  Income Based (Florida Tax Credit) Scholarship (Families who Qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program or if your family received SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR)
  2. Special Needs (Gardiner) Scholarship (Also applies for 4 or 5 year olds who are zoned for a D or F school)



JULY 3rd Deadline

3.  McKay Scholarship:  (for students Pre-K – 12th grade in public school who have a 504 or IEP plan)




MAY 1st Deadline

Income Based Scholarship:

Florida Tax Credit

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program no longer requires prior year enrollment in a public school. For the 2016-2017 school year, a student is eligible for a scholarship from a nonprofit SFO through this program, if :

  1. the student is currently placed, or during the previous state fiscal year was placed, in foster care, OR
  2. the student qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunches under the National School Lunch Act or is on the direct certification list.
  3. beginning with the 2016-17 school year, contigent on available funds, a student may be eligible for a scholarship if the student’s household income does not exceed 260 percent of the federal poverty level.

Special Needs Scholarship:

This scholarship is for Florida students 3 years old through 12th grade or age 22, whichever comes first, with one of the following disabilities: autism spectrum disorder, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome or intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment). Also, students ages 3, 4 or 5 deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays may be eligible for the year they apply. (Please note: Students must not be older than 5 on Sept. 1.)

  • Students need an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a Florida school district or a formal diagnosis from a Florida licensed physician or psychologist.
  • Students must be at least 3 or 4 on or before Sept 1. Students entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept 1. Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept 1.
  • Students can participate in the Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program as part of home education. However, they cannot be enrolled in a public school or receive any other state-sponsored scholarship (McKay Scholarship or the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship).


JULY 3rd Deadline

McKay Scholarship:


Any parent of a public school student with a disability who has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 accommodation plan may receive a McKay Scholarship if the student meets the following requirements:

  • The student has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school (the student was enrolled and reported by a Florida school district for funding during the preceding October and February FTE surveys in Pre-K through grade 12), or
  • The student was enrolled and reported for funding by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind during the preceding October and February student membership surveys in kindergarten through grade 12, or
  • The student received services under the Specialized Instructional Services (SIS) program during the previous school year and has a current IEP developed by the local school board in accordance with State Board Rule or a 504 accommodation plan, or
  • The student is a foster child or is a dependent child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who transfers to Florida from out of state due to a parent’s permanent change of station orders, and
  • The parent has notified the school district in a manner that creates a written or electronic record of the notification (this is done by filing intent on the School Choice website) at least 60 days prior to the date of the first scholarship payment, and
  • The parent has obtained acceptance for admission of the student to a private school that is eligible for the program.

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