Family Empowerment Scholarship
On March 27, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill (HB) 1, which expands available school choice options for all students in Florida. As of the 2023-24 school year, the bill eliminates financial eligibility restrictions and the current enrollment cap for the Family Empowerment Scholarship Educational Options. HB 1 also increases the annual scholarship cap growth for the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities from one percent to three percent annually to address high demand and wait lists.
With these expansions along with other school choice options, Florida is empowering every family and every child to achieve their educational goals.
Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options
This branch of the scholarship eligibility provides additional educational options for all K-12 students, such as attending a participating private school. Families apply and annually renew through one of the approved scholarship funding organizations (SFO), which are responsible for determining and distributing funding. FES EO also offers families of eligible students the option to receive a $750 scholarship to provide transportation to a public school different from the school to which the student was assigned.
Educational Options FAQs (PDF)
Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities
This branch of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program is designed to offer families of students with disabilities, as young as 3 years of age, access to additional education options. Families may choose to enroll their student in another *public school (see below for more information on this topic), or they may choose to take the opportunity to receive a personal education savings account (ESA) for their student. With an ESA, instead of having their child attend a public school, parents receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple, uses. An ESA can be used to fund not only items such as private school tuition and fees, but also online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials. Families apply and annually renew for participation in FES UA through one of the approved SFOs, which are responsible for determining eligibility, awarding and distributing funding to eligible student accounts, and approving eligible expenditures.
Unique Abilities FAQs (PDF)
How do I apply?
If you are interested in applying for either branch of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, please contact one of the two scholarship funding organizations that administers these programs:
P.O. Box 15719
Tampa, FL 33684
P.O. Box 54367
Jacksonville, FL 32245-4367
Brevard Public Schools closes selected public schools to FES requests based on the building capacity at the school and class size at each grade level. Each school in Brevard County is reviewed and updated periodically for these factors to determine which public schools are available as a FES choice. Based on these calculations, all public schools, except for Melbourne, Satellite and Viera High Schools as well as Westside Elementary, are open for consideration of FES Applicants for the 2023-2024 school year.
Note - All classrooms are open for consideration depending on the seats available based on class size amendment at each grade level/subject as well as exceptional student education staff to student ratio in selected classrooms.
After requesting an open school for your child, there is still further consideration that is made as the request is reviewed to assure that the requested school has the ability to accommodate your child’s needs as stated on their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Parents must use the link below to request one (or more) open schools in order for your child to be considered for a Family Empowerment Scholarship to that school.
Choice Schools: Students must complete the choice school’s registration process and enter the lottery or waiting list just as all other students who apply to attend one of these schools. If the student is first admitted to one of these schools through the normal lottery system or waiting list system, then the student who has applied for and is eligible for a FES would be able to attend this school with the advantages offered through the FES. Parents may apply for a public-school FES to a choice school, choice program, magnet school, or charter school after they have applied and been admitted to the choice school. Although they can make such application, parents are notified that the FES application and approval to these types of schools do not provide the student the opportunity to go to the front of the line and be automatically accepted.
Transportation: If a chosen school is approved as a FES request, BPS will provide transportation for the student to the approved public school of choice if the chosen school is more than two (2) miles and less than four (4) miles from the student’s residence. It is the parents’ responsibility to arrange for transportation of their child to the chosen approved public school for students living less than two miles or more than four miles from the chosen school. Calculation of distance is made by the BPS Transportation Department.
Timelines: All FES public school requests will be fulfilled within 14 business days.
District Contact Information
Telephone Number: (321) 633-1000 extension 11505
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org