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What is Family Empowerment Scholarship ?

The Family Empowerment Scholarship was established in 2019 to provide financial assistance to students from low-income families. House Bill 7045, signed into law in 2021, amended the program to include two streams of eligibility: the income-based Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES EO) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Disabilities {FES UA} .

Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 7045 into law on May 11, 2021, bringing a number of improvements to the state’s K-12 scholarship programs, including a significant expansion of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program.

House Bill 7045 created two new branches of eligibility for the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program: the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES EO) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Disabilities (FES UA).

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family empowerment scholarship
FES scholarship

Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Purpose

This section of the scholarship is based on family income and gives K-12 pupils the option of attending a participating private school. Families must apply through an established scholarship financing organization (SFO), which is in charge of determining and distributing funds to private schools. FES EO also provides qualified children’ families with the opportunity to obtain a $750 scholarship to help pay for transportation to a public school other than the one to which the student was assigned.

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FES Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities

This section of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program is aimed to provide access to extra education opportunities for families of students with disabilities as young as three years old. Families have the option of enrolling their child in a different public school or receiving a personal education savings account (ESA) for their child. Parents receive a deposit of public cash into government-authorized savings accounts that can be used for a variety of purposes. An ESA can be used to pay for online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education costs, and other approved personalized learning services and materials, in addition to private school tuition and fees.

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FES UA participation is applied for and renewed annually by one of the designated SFOs, which are responsible for establishing eligibility, providing and distributing cash to qualified student accounts, and approving eligible expenditures.

Family Empowerment Scholarship benefit/award

FES UA scholarship amounts are calculated in relation to the student’s grade level, matrix level, and school district, just like the McKay Scholarship. They are based on the Florida Education Finance Program budget set by the legislature each year. Scholarship amounts may differ from year to year. House Bill 7045, on the other hand, stated that students who transfer from McKay to FES UA will not receive a lower scholarship amount than they did in the previous academic year.

What is the Mckay Scholarship?

The McKay scholarship is a Florida Department of Education scholarship program for students with disabilities. Thousands of special needs pupils benefit from this grant, which allows them to attend private or public school.

As of June 30, 2022, the law that established the McKay Scholarship Program is abolished. Students in the McKay Scholarship Program will join the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program under the Unique Abilities category beginning July 1, 2022. (FES UA).

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The Mckay Scholarship Transition

The McKay Scholarship Program will merge with the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program under the Unique Abilities category on July 1, 2022. (FES UA).

Students who are currently enrolled in the McKay Scholarship public school option will be allowed to do so under the FES UA public school option as well. Families should continue to cooperate with their local school systems when choosing a public school.

Siblings of FES UA students are eligible for a scholarship to attend a private school under the Family Empowerment Scholarship program’s Educational Options branch, independent of their family’s income level. During the changeover procedure, information about siblings should be submitted to your chosen SFO.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, the department is collaborating with both SFOs and private schools. Keep an eye out for emails from the government, your private school, and the SFOs themselves with information about the SFO selection process.

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FES Funding through “Education Savings Account”

SFOs receive funds for FES UA students to be held in individual savings accounts with limited but multiple uses on behalf of families. Families may be repaid for qualified expenses, and in some situations, SFOs may arrange for direct payment from the student’s ESA for approved products and services.

The link above has a complete list of acceptable expenses. Private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college expenditures, higher education expenses, and other approved customized learning services and materials are among the approved uses for money. Your SFO can provide you with more specific details.

FLVS tuition or fees are a permitted use of FES UA funding. Scholarship students must enroll in FLVS courses utilizing the private-pay option before using FES UA money to cover the tuition.

While it is not necessary to re-establish eligibility every year, FES UA families must submit a sworn compliance statement to their SFO every year to remain in the program.

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How to Apply for Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES)

If you’re interested in applying for one of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program’s two branches, please contact one of the two scholarship funding organizations that runs these programs:

A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation- FL, LLC
P.O. Box 15719, Tampa, FL 33684
Phone/Fax: 888-707-2465

Official website:

Step Up For Students
P.O. Box 54367
Jacksonville, FL 32245-4367

Official website:

To learn more about the Family Empowerment Scholarship program, visit the Florida Department of Education’s official website, which is listed below.