What is HB1 and what does it change?
House Bill 1 (HB1) increases accessibility to school choice by expanding scholarship opportunities to include all Florida K-12 students.
The Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES-EO) and Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarships have expanded eligibility to include all students qualified to attend a public K-12 school. This removes income qualifications that prevented some students from receiving this opportunity.
Additionally, these scholarship programs were converted to education savings account (ESA) programs, meaning that the funding is deposited into an account and may be applied through multiple avenues. This change allows for increased options without the financial burden as parents and guardians navigate schooling their children.
When will the changes take effect?
The changes will be implemented July 1st, 2023.
Where do applicants apply?
Applications will be available through one of the scholarship funding organizations (SFO): A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation and Step Up for Students.
Is there an application difference between FES and FTC scholarships?
FTC scholarships are privately funded, and FES scholarships are government funded. Both types of scholarships are applied to the same way through the same application.
How can scholarships be used for public school education?
Scholarships can provide funding of up to $750 for transportation to a public school outside the student’s zoned district, allowing students to attend a public school they are not zoned for.
How can scholarships be used for private school education?
Scholarships can provide funding for private school tuition first, then other private schooling expenses after tuition is paid.
How can scholarships be used for home education?
HB1 establishes a new personalized education program (PEP) for those who wish to home educate but receive funding to do so. PEP is funded through FTC scholarships and provides financial support for students who do not attend public or private school. PEP funds could contribute to paying for things such as home education group tuition fees, tutoring, and curriculum. Those utilizing the PEP funding will terminate their registration as a home education program participant and will register as a PEP program participant by notifying their school district. For more information on PEP: https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/18379/urlt/PEP-FAQ.pdf
Can students who are siblings receive different scholarships for different schooling methods?
Yes, HB1 allows flexibility for parents and guardians to determine which schooling method is best for each individual student. Siblings do not need to attend the same school or utilize the same schooling method; their funding will be determined individually.
Are there differences in funding for students with special abilities?
Yes, the FES-EA program is specifically for students with special abilities. HB1 increases the annual FES-EA scholarship adjustment from 1% to 3%. This increase allows more students with special abilities to access funding. For more information on FES-EA: https://www.stepupforstudents.org/scholarships/unique-abilities/
Are there differences in funding for students with increased financial need?
Yes, priority is given to those whose household income falls below 185% of the federal poverty line, and second priority to those with household income falling between 185% and 400% of the federal poverty line.
How many students will receive funding?
HB1 eliminates the enrollment cap for the scholarships, but PEP specifically is limited to 20,000 new students. This limit will increase to 40,000 next year and by 40,000 each subsequent year until 2027, when the limit is removed.
How is the funding amount determined?
Funding is determined based on the student’s grade level and county of residence. See below for the maximum awarded amounts per county and grade level.