Applications for Florida Tax Credit Scholarship remain strong

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Interest in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship is continuing to surge in the wake of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Feb. 15 request for creation of a new state-funded program to ensure demand from lower-income and working class parents for educational choice can be met.

At the time of the governor’s proposal for an “equal opportunity scholarship,” Step Up For Students, the nonprofit that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, was averaging 1,550 new student applications a day.

As of Thursday, Step Up, which hosts this blog, had received 25,299 applications for 36,026 new students, of which 10,824 have been found eligible.

Applications from parents who are applying for the first time have slowed since the application period opened Feb. 8, but Step Up is still averaging nearly 800 new applications a day.

To date, Step Up has received 78,886 applications for 124,072 students for the 2019-20 school year. More than 85,000 students already have been deemed eligible for scholarships. Overall, the number of applications started is up 45 percent over the same date last year while the number of students found eligible is up 31 percent.

The Florida Tax Credit scholarship is serving 100,512 students this year according to the most recent report from the Florida Department of Education. About 13,000 families are on the waitlist for the scholarship, the nation’s largest school choice program.

The Gardiner Scholarship for students with special needs, meanwhile, has a waitlist of 1,841 students this year. DeSantis addressed the Gardiner waitlist at separate events in Jacksonville and Orlando in February. To date, Step Up has received 11,987 applications for 13,769 students for 2019-20. More than 5,200 students already have been approved for the scholarship for next year.

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