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Step Up: Scholarships for private school

Depending on need, funding is available for financial aid toward tuition, fees

MIAMI | Step Up for Students offers two scholarships that are based on household income: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship gives families a choice of financial assistance toward private school tuition and fees, or helps with transportation costs for students to attend a public school different than the one they are assigned to. The Family Empowerment Scholarship may be used towards private school tuition and fees.

Both scholarships are based on financial need and not how well a child does in school. Scholarships for tuition and fees could be worth as much as $7,000 per child, depending on location and the grade of the children.


The application is the same for both scholarships. Step Up for Students determines if a family is eligible, and for which scholarship. To qualify, a family of four can have an income of nearly $80,000 annually. (See the chart for information.) The best way to determine eligibility is to start the application process. Click here to see if you qualify.

In order to assure timely processing for a full scholarship, Step Up needs to receive the application and all required documents by June 1, 2021. Step Up will continue to accept applications after June 1 but cannot assure those received after that date will be processed in time to receive a full award.

Step Up also offers three other scholarships that are not income-based: 

  • The Gardiner Scholarship allows parents to personalize the education of their pre-K-12 children with certain special needs by directing money toward a combination of approved programs and providers.
  • The Hope Scholarship allows parents of children in public school to find a new learning environment for their child who is being bullied or a victim of violence.
  • The Reading Scholarship allows parents with children in public school to access services for their children in grades three through five who are having trouble reading.

During the 2019-2020 school year, 52 of the 66 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Miami participated in a Step Up scholarship program, with a total of  7,547 of their 33,320 students receiving aid. Most —7,000— received Florida Tax Credit Scholarships, followed by 375 with Family Empowerment Scholarships; and 172 with Gardiner scholarships. 

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