Thank you for your interest in this unique educational option.
Step Up For Students (SUFS) is a private, nonprofit organization and an approved Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO). In addition to the Gardiner Scholarship Program, SUFS also administers the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship which provides K-12 private school scholarships for students from low-income families.
The Gardiner Scholarship program (formerly known as the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts or PLSA) is a unique program for children with special needs. The scholarship allows parents to personalize the education of their children by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. Florida became the second state in the nation, after Arizona, to create an education savings account program for children with special needs in 2014. In 2016, the Florida legislature renamed the program in honor of Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and his family. Gardiner and his wife, Camille, have championed the cause of children with unique abilities for many years.
The sections following this introduction will guide you as you provide for students receiving Gardiner Scholarship funding.
Qualifying for the Gardiner Scholarship Program
The Gardiner Scholarship is available to students ages 3 to 22 with the following diagnoses: Autism spectrum disorder, Muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment), or three, four or five year-olds who are deemed high-risk due to developmental delays. While families must only qualify for the scholarship in their first year, SUFS requires families to submit applications every year after initial eligibility to confirm continued interest in program participation.