When Should I Apply For the Step Up Scholarship? - Lakeside Christian School

When Should I Apply For the Step Up Scholarship?

When Should I Apply For the Step Up Scholarship?

For many people, the ability to send their children to private school seems out of reach because of cost. However, in recent years the State of Florida has made strides to bring private school within reach for thousands, possibly even millions, of students with the popular Step Up for Students scholarship. In fact, as of 2021 around 62% of students in Florida (2.2 million children) are eligible for a tax-credit scholarship or voucher.


If you’re considering applying to Step Up for Students participating schools in Clearwater, FL, there are a few important steps to understand so that you can apply and qualify for this scholarship before funds run out. In this brief article, our team of advisors at Lakeside Christian School shares the most important things to know about the Step Up for Students scholarship and how to take full advantage of the program.


What You Need to Know About Step Up for Students in Clearwater, FL


Step Up for Students scholarships is part of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which was initiated in 1998 to give lower-income students and families more choice in regard to where to receive an education. That scholarship allowed parents the opportunity to take their children to participating private schools if they felt they were not being served with quality in their local public schools. It has since evolved to include four separate scholarship opportunities:


  • Florida Tax Credit: Provides students in kindergarten through 12th grade with a scholarship to assist in school choice, expenses, and transportation to public or private schools.
  • Family Empowerment (formerly known as the Gardiner Scholarship): Created to help children with unique abilities and special needs by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers, including schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.
  • The Hope Scholarship: Available to students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade who are enrolled in a Florida public school and have been bullied, harassed, assaulted, threatened and/or a victim of other violent acts.
  • The Reading Scholarship: Created to help children in third through fifth grade who struggle with reading.


The Step Up for Students scholarship program is different because it targets students who tend to have the most limited options for improving the quality of their education. Families who are active duty military can also qualify for this scholarship. It should be noted, however, that these scholarships may not cover 100% of tuition costs.


When Should You Apply for the Step Up Scholarship?


Although the Step Up for Students Scholarship is a great opportunity, you may find that funds quickly run out if you wait too long to apply. In some cases, the deadline to apply for scholarships for the following school year is June 4.


It can take anywhere from 3-5 weeks to process your application, and in most cases Clearwater, FL private middle schools prefer that you apply for scholarships before or during the application process for admission. However, you may find it more beneficial to speak with the school you are considering directly. School advisors will help guide you through the process of both applying for admission and applying for financial assistance.


It should also be noted that Step Up for Students Scholarship prioritizes the application process for lower-income applicants. If you are applying for a scholarship and do not meet the income requirements, your application may still be processed but it may take slightly longer for a response.


How to Apply for the Step Up Scholarship


When Step Up For Students is accepting applications for the income-based scholarships families must complete an online application and submit the required supporting documentation. These documents may vary from one application to the next depending on each family’s situation. However, you will typically need to submit:


  • Paystubs (30 consecutive days closest to when you submit your application)
  • Proof of residency for all members in the household (i.e., health insurance, Medicaid, income documentation, utility bills, court custody documents or residential lease listing household members)
  • Any other sources of income (i.e., unemployment benefits, social security benefits, child support benefits, etc.)
  • Driver’s license or passport for primary and secondary parents


To apply for a Christian middle school in Clearwater, FL, including Lakeside Christian School, you will need to speak with the school’s advisors to discuss any additional information that may be needed.


Once you have been awarded a scholarship, you will need to print your award letter and submit it to the school of your choice. Then, the school administrator can complete and submit a School Commitment Form for your student to let Step Up for Students know your child is attending their school on the scholarship. It is crucial to note: for a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship student to be properly enrolled and receive payment, the parent MUST take the award letter to the school of your choice as soon as possible, in order to secure your award.


With over 40 years of experience and a diverse student body of children from families of all socioeconomic backgrounds and income levels, Lakeside Christian School is built on the biblical principles of loving God and loving others. This care is demonstrated through the warm, respectful relationships among staff and between staff and students, and uses a tailored approach to your child’s education. If you’re interested in learning more about how we challenge all of our students to achieve their academic and personal goals, give us a call.


Each year, Lakeside, the best private school in Clearwater, FL, provides over $250,000 in scholarships to qualified families. For more information and to schedule a tour, please call Jim Jensen, Administrator at (727) 477-8542. New inquiries only. For all other concerns, please use: (727) 461-3311.


If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, a Christian middle school in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.

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