Family Empowerment Scholarship Program
FL Department of Education - Family Empowerment ScholarshipOn May 11, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 7045 into law, resulting in several changes to the state funded scholarship programs, including an extensive expansion of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. Our office is working closely with the scholarship funding organizations, AAA Scholarship Foundation and Step Up For Students, to ensure appropriate and effective implementation of these changes. We know you are eager to learn what these changes mean for you and your families, as these changes take effect July 1, 2021.
The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) Program was established during the 2019 Legislative Session to enhance Florida’s menu of education options. It provides children whose families have limited financial resources with the opportunity to attend the school that best meets their needs and enables them to reach their academic goals. The FES Program is exclusively administered by the AAA Scholarship Foundation and Step Up For Students.
For more information, please visit the Florida Department of Education website at www.Fldoe.org/FES. You may also contact the Department of Choice and Career Options at 561-434-8755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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), or
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.
How to Begin Application Process
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.