How to claim money for kids' education under new Florida law
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1 in May, unleashing funds that families can use toward private school tuition, homeschooling materials and other education expenses.
What's happening: School districts receive a certain amount of funding per student from federal, state and local governments.
- The new law essentially allows any K–12 student to take the state portion allotted for them — roughly $8,000 annually — and redirect it toward private school tuition.
- It removes income caps, so even wealthy families are eligible.
Why it matters: The law went into effect July 1, and funds can be used for the upcoming school year.
- The move makes Florida the largest jurisdiction in the country to offer universal school choice, according to education news site The 74, which describes the state as a "laboratory" conducting a giant experiment in education.
- Conservatives lauded the change, while critics characterize it as a giveaway to wealthy families and fear that siphoning funds away will devastate public schools.
- The Education Law Center predicts the new law will cost Florida $4 billion.
How it works: An organization called Step Up for Students handles the applications and payments.
- For kids K–12 without disabilities, parents apply here for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC)/Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES-EO).
What they're saying: "Since May, we have received nearly 177,000 FTC/FES-EO applications representing nearly 245,000 students," Step Up for Students spokesperson Scott Kent tells Axios.
Of note: Families must apply to private schools separately. State funds go directly to the school after a student is enrolled.
- If school costs exceed the roughly $8,000, parents are responsible for paying the difference.
- If funds are left over after tuition, they may be used on other education expenses.
- There is no deadline to apply, but private schools are filling up.
Zoom in: Separate funds are available for:
More Miami stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Miami.