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Step Up for Students - Family Empowerment Scholarship (Gardiner)

The Family Empowerment Scholarship is a private school scholarship program targeting

Florida’s K-12 for low to middle income students. For the school year of 2021-22, this

scholarship has expanded to include education savings accounts for children with special

needs. Scholarships can range between the average of $6,673 and $7,169 depending on the

grade level of the student and the county their designated school resides in.


In order to be eligible for the Family Empowerment Scholarship, the student must fall between

the grades K-12 and be at least 5 years of age by September 1st. Students must have attended a Florida public school the previous school year unless they are entering the kindergarten grade level, is a foster child, or is a child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who transfers to Florida with permanent change of station orders. The student must be living under a household earning below 300% of the Federal poverty level ($78,600 living in a household of four) or in foster care. Priority is made for students whose household income is lower than 185% of the poverty level ($448,470 living in a household of four) where students qualify for free or reduced lunch in public schools or are in foster care.

Before You Apply

Dependent students of active military members can qualify for the scholarship regardless of

the household income. Applications are specifically open for military families all year round.

When determining the number of household members, whether they are activated or deployed (six months or longer) they are still counted as a household member. When determining your household income, only the base pay of the service member is counted as income. In terms of supporting documents to help aid your application, a copy of the service member’s LES that serves as an accurate representation of the month you are applying in or the previous month’s income.

If someone in your household is self-employed, the following may help determine your

household income:

● You are credited with a net income rather than a gross income. This is determined by

subtracting business expenses from gross receipts.

○ Gross receipts include the total income of goods sold or any services rendered.

○ Business expenses that can be deducted include the costs of goods purchased,

rent, utilities, depreciation charges, wages and salaries, paid and business taxes.

● For farmers, the net income is determined by subtracting the operating expenses from

the gross receipts.

○ Gross receipts include the value of all the products sold, money received from

the rental of the farmland, building, or equipment to others, and incidental

receipts from the sale of items such as wood, sand, or gravel.

○ Business expenses include the cost of feed, fertilizers, seed, farming supplies,

cash wages, depreciation charges, cash rent, interest on farm mortgages, farm

building repairs, and farm taxes.

● Households with income from wages and self-employment must submit records of both


● Wages may not be reduced by the amount of business lost.

● If your income from self-employment is negative, it can be recorded as an income of


Validating documentation can include a copy of the month of application’s profit and loss/

income and expense statement. If the profit and loss/ income and expense statement is not

accurate, a copy of the previous year’s 1040 may be submitted.

Students in foster care can be defined as the placement of a child in a licensed and

non-licensed setting, supervised by the department of children and families or a contracted

service provider, or is outside the home of the parent. In order to determine your number of

household members, children in foster care are counted as members of the household. When

determining your household income, any personal income the child in foster care receives is

counted as the household’s income. Any payments received from the foster care agency with

the purpose of caring for the children are not counted in the household’s income. Validating

documentation can include a copy of your current foster parent license and a copy of the

placement papers for the child in foster care. If the child is in out-of-home care, validating

documentation can include a copy of the placement papers or a copy of the court order placing the child in your care.

Students with a public school IEP or a 504 accommodation plan, or with a special need

may have access to education choice scholarships (Family Empowerment Scholarship)

including an education savings account for students in either public, private or at home

education. One thing to consider is the student cannot receive multiple scholarships within the same school year. This includes the McKay Scholarship, the Family Empowerment Scholarship, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, and the Hope Scholarship.

Those who are experiencing homelessness (lacking a regular and adequate nighttime

residence) may full under the following definitions:

● Children who are sharing households with that of other persons due to the loss of their

own home, financial hardships, or lack of adequate accommodations.

● Children who are living in emergency or transitional shelters, who may have been

abandoned or are waiting for a placement in foster care.

● Children who use public or private places not designated for regular sleeping


● Children who are living in cars or public places, or abandoned buildings.

Validating documentation for the previously mentioned living conditions can include a document signed by the local education liaison or the director of a homeless shelter that includes the name of the child along with the dates of homelessness.

How can Sapneil Tutoring help with the application process?

Sapneil Tutoring is here to provide you with answers to any questions you may have when

applying or explaining the benefits of this scholarship program. We help make the application

process easier as we are here to guide you through the process, informing the applicant of any updates, missing information, or sending off the application with any supporting documents that may be needed.

504 Plan Requirements

In order for a student to get a 504 accommodation plan, schools may ask for a medical

diagnosis showing proof that special education or extra support is needed. Schools may also

just look at the student’s grades, test scores, and teacher recommendations. This plan can be

requested through the school through the district’s 504 coordinator. This request is made in

writing and then the school holds a meeting to discuss the student’s qualifications and what

accommodations can be made in order to increase the student’s support.

Click for more info on FES Scholarship

Find out more information about college admissions, our programs, or on our student-exclusive scholarship program by visiting our website:

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