Florida Tax Credit Scholarship FAQs
Definition & Eligibility
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) was established in 2001 to provide an income tax credit for corporations that contribute money to nonprofit Scholarship-Funding Organizations (SFOs) that award scholarships to students from families with limited financial resources. The purpose of the tax credit is to:
- Encourage private, voluntary contributions to nonprofit SFOs;
- Expand education opportunities for children from families that have limited financial resources; and
- Enable children to achieve a greater level of excellence in their education.
For the 2022-2023 school year, a student is eligible for a scholarship from a nonprofit SFO through this program, if:
- The student is currently placed, or during the previous state fiscal year was placed, in foster care, OR
- The student is on the direct certification list or the student’s household income level does not exceed the federal poverty level, or 400%
The parent of an eligible scholarship student must:
- Select an eligible private school and apply for the admission of his or her child;
- Inform the child's school district when the parent withdraws his or her child to attend an eligible private school within 15 days of that decision;
- Ensure the scholarship student remains in attendance throughout the school year unless excused by the school for illness or other good cause;
- Ensure that the student participating in the scholarship program takes the norm-referenced assessment offered by the private school.
- If desired, request from the school district for the student to take the statewide assessment pursuant to s. 1008.22, F.S., and provide transportation to the test site designated by the district;
- Restrictively endorse the scholarship payment to the private school for deposit into the account of the private school; or, payments are made by funds transfer, approve each payment before the scholarship funds may be deposited.
Additional information related to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is available directly from Scholarship Funding Organizations
Scholarship Awards & Payments
- $7,714 for a scholarship awarded to a student for enrollment in an eligible private school; or
- $750 for a scholarship awarded to a student for enrollment in a Florida public school that is different from the school to which the student was assigned or to a lab school as defined in s.1002.32, F.S.
- Tuition and fees for an eligible private school or
- Transportation to a Florida public school that is located outside the district in which the student resides.
The payment will be made either by check payable to the student’s parent or by electronic funds transfer. If the parent chooses for his or her child eligible private school, the payment must be sent by the eligible SFO to the private school of the parent’s choice, and the parent must restrictively endorse the check or approve the payment to the private school.
The SFO must ensure that the parent endorses or approves the payment to the private school of the parent’s choice for deposit into the account of the private school.
Scholarship Funding Organizations
- Provide scholarships from eligible contributions to qualified students;
- Give priority to qualified students who received a scholarship from an eligible SFO during the previous year;
- give priority to new applicants whose household income levels do not exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty level or who are in foster care.
- Expend for annual or partial-year scholarships an amount equal to or greater than 75% of the net eligible contributions remaining after administrative expenses during the state fiscal year in which the contributions are collected;
- Provide a surety bond or letter of credit in an amount equal to 25 percent of the scholarship funds anticipated for each school year or $100,000, whichever is greater.
- May use up to 3% of eligible contributions for administrative expenses if the SFO has operated for the last 3 state fiscal years without negative financial findings; and
- Provide the Auditor General and the Department of Education with an annual financial and compliance audit of their accounts and records conducted by independent certified public accountants.
The Department of Revenue (DOR), The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Education (DOE) cooperatively administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
The DOE is responsible for adopting rules necessary to determine the eligibility of SFOs and identifying students eligible to participate in the program. The DOE is also responsible for submitting annually, by March 15, a list of eligible SFOs to the DOR and the DABT.
The DOE must annually verify:
- The eligibility of nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations;
- The eligibility of private schools; and
- The eligibility of expenditures.
The DOR is responsible for adopting rules to administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, including:
- Establishing application forms and procedures; and
- Governing the allocation of tax credits and carry forward credits for the program on a first-come, first-served basis.