Family Empowerment program
- The scholarship amount is the lesser of the school’s tuition and fees or the calculated scholarship amount
The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) Program is one of Florida’s greatest victories for low-income and working-class families, and it is the first of its kind to extend support to middle-income families. Following the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 7070, which creates the FES Program and provides 18,000 students life-changing education opportunities for academic and career success.
The FES Program will provide an educational lifeline to students waiting for an opportunity to find the school that will best work for them and puts more parents in the driver’s seat to determine the best educational environments for their children.
Florida Department of Education
A student is eligible for a scholarship if the student meets the following criteria:
- The student’s household income level does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level ($77,250 for a family of four) or the student is on the direct certification list (list of children who qualify for the food assistance program, the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program, or the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations program).
- The student is currently placed, or during the previous state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home care as defined in s. 39.01
- The student is eligible to enroll in kindergarten or has spent the prior school year (2018-19) in attendance at a Florida public school. Prior attendance means the student was enrolled in and in attendance at a Florida public school during both the October and February student counts.
- Prior to scholarship funds being awarded, the student must be accepted and enrolled in a participating private school. For a list of eligible schools, please view the Department’s Private School Directory.
- A private school that is currently eligible to participate in any of the scholarship programs is eligible to participate in the FES. However, parents should contact the schools to inquire as to whether the private school will participate in the program.
The TOEFL® test is a popular option for students to meet the English-language requirements for scholarships.
The scholarship amount is the lesser of the school’s tuition and fees or the calculated scholarship amount (described next). The scholarship amount is based upon the grade level and district in which the student resides and will be calculated at 95% of the funds per unweighted FTE full-time equivalent in the Florida Education Finance program for a student in the basic program established pursuant to s. 1011.62(1)(c)1., plus a per-full-time equivalent share of funds for all categorical programs, except for the Exceptional Student Education Guaranteed Allocation. The Department will post actual scholarship amounts on the page in the near future.
Parents who meet the eligibility requirements above and are interested in applying for the FES should first contact one of Florida’s two approved scholarship funding organizations (SFOs) to complete the income verification process. Students who have already applied for the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship program may be determined to meet the income eligibility without resubmitting household income documentation to the SFO.
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