Should I Apply for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship or the Family Empowerment Scholarship?
If you’re looking to send your student to a private school for the 2020-2021 school year and are wondering how you’re going to pay for it, it may be time to look into Step Up For Students in Clearwater, FL. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program currently offers two scholarships for low-income students in Florida: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship. Deciding which of these scholarships that you should apply for can be a difficult task, which is why we’ve taken this opportunity to outline what the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is all about and the difference between these two scholarships.
What Is the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program?
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) was established in 2001 by the Florida Legislature in order to provide an income tax credit for corporations that contribute money to nonprofit Scholarship Funding-Organization (SFOs) — institutions that award scholarships to families with limited financial resources. The purpose of the tax credit was split off into three main goals: encourage private contributions to nonprofit SPOs, expand education opportunities for children in lower-income families, and enable children to achieve a higher level of excellence in their education.
Of America’s school choice programs, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship is one of the largest in terms of student participation. As of Fall 2019, there were 108,570 participating students with an average scholarship value of $6,195 and 1,836 participating schools. 50 percent of families with children in the State of Florida were income-eligible for this tax-credit scholarship program.
What Is the Difference Between the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship?
The one major difference is that the Family Empowerment Scholarship can only be used toward private school tuition and fees while the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship allows families to choose between financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees OR transportation costs to attend a public school other than the one the student is currently assigned to attend. Other minor differences do exist, such as that renewal students have first priority for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, but the majority of parents are going to be concerned with where these scholarship funds are able to be directed. Another important factor to consider is that, despite the fact that the eligibility criteria differs between the programs, the application is the same for both.
Is My Child Eligible for Either of These Scholarships?
Your child may income qualify for either one of these scholarships if your household meets any of these conditions:
- A member of the household receives SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR
- The household income qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch
- The household income is at or below the income criteria outlined in the Eligibility Chart
For example, the Family Empowerment Scholarship income level is designed to serve students in households at $76,800 or below. Priority is given to students whose incomes are below $48,470. If your income is below the income criteria in the income priority chart, your student will be placed on a waiting list until all the renewal families and new families whose income falls under the priority table receive funds.
In terms of other eligibility requirements, you’ll want to make sure that your student has spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school for the Family Empowerment Scholarship. This means that your student was enrolled and attended a Florida public school for both the October and February student counts. The only exception applies for a dependent child of a member of the military transferring from another state or a foreign country due to a change of station. If you are interested in applying for either of these scholarships and are looking for one of the best Step Up For Students participating schools, choose Lakeside Christian School.