The Gardiner Scholarship Program provides eligible students a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products in order to design a customized educational program for the student. Scholarships can be used for specialized services such as speech or occupational therapy, instructional materials, tuition at an eligible private school, contributions to a college prepaid account and more. The program is directly administered by state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organizations.
Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship Program also allows students with special needs an opportunity to receive an education savings account (ESA) funded by the state and administered by an approved Scholarship Funding Organization. Parents can use the funds to pay for a variety of educational services, including private school tuition, tutoring, online education, home education, curriculum, therapy, postsecondary educational institutions in Florida and other defined educational services.
Who is eligible to receive a Gardiner Scholarship?
To be eligible to receive a scholarship a student must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Is a resident of this state;
- Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a public school in this state or will be 3 or 4 years old before September 1;
- Has a disability as defined below:
- Autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, an intellectual disability, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Williams syndrome or a high-risk child as defined in s. 393.063(23)(a), Florida Statutes.
- Is the subject of an IEP (individual educational plan) written in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education or has received a diagnosis of a disability as defined above from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a psychologist who is licensed in this state.
How much is the average scholarship amount?
The amount of a child’s scholarship is dependent on a number of different factors, including grade level, county of residence and a student’s individual level of need. The average full scholarship amount is approximately $10,000. The percentage of scholarship a student qualifies depends on the date eligibility is confirmed by the scholarship funding organization.
- September 1 100%
- November 1 75%
- February 1 50%
- April 1 25%