Step Up For Students - The Gardiner Scholarship

Tutor Doctor of PSL is an approved vendor for Step Up For Students – The Gardiner Scholarship

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Mission: “Step Up For Students empowers parents to pursue and engage in the most appropriate learning options for their children, with an emphasis on families who lack the financial resources to access these options. By pursuing this mission, we help public education fulfill the promise of equal opportunity.”

About Step Up For Students: It is a nonprofit organization which provides state-approved scholarships for Florida schoolchildren. They believe in the premise that public education should not be determined by financial ability or disability but should be available to all. Through scholarships and the empowerment of parents, Step Up For Children enables equal educational opportunity to those near poverty or who have certain special needs to have the opportunity to a brighter future. The scholarships offered through Step Up For Students are the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Gardiner Scholarship.

The Gardiner Scholarship differs to other state-approved scholarship because it allows parents to personalize the education of their child with unique abilities by directing the awarded funds toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapies, specialists, curriculum and technology.

History: In January 2016, the program previously called the Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA) was named the Gardiner Scholarship, in honor of the then Florida Senate President, Andy Gardiner. Gardiner and his wife, Camille, have championed the cause of children with unique abilities for many years. The Gardiner’s have 2 girls and a son named Andrew, who has Down syndrome.

Student eligibility for the Gardiner Scholarship: This scholarship is available for Florida students 3-years old through 12th grade, or up to age 22, with one of the following disabilities: autism spectrum disorder, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome or Intellectual Disability (severe cognitive impairment). Students aged 3 to 5 deemed “high risk” because of developmental delays may also be eligible.

Scholarship account value: The Gardiner scholarship amount varies according to grade and county but averages about $10,200 per student. The scholarship is higher for students whose disability is rated above a level 3 (known as Matrix 253). Parents may request an evaluation from the school district to determine whether the student qualifies. Visit www.stepupforstudents.org for more information.

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