Step Up for Students Gardiner Scholarship

Step Up for Students Gardiner Scholarship

The Gardiner Scholarship helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs.

     The Gardiner Scholarship fomerly known as PLSA is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology—even a college savings account.

This scholarship is for Florida students 3 years old through 12th grade or age 22, whichever comes first, 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, Intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment), rare diseases as defined by the National Organization for Rare Disorders, anaphylaxis, deaf, visually impaired, dual sensory impaired, traumatic brain injured, hospital or homebound as defined by the rules of the State Board of Education and evidenced by reports from local school districts, or 3, 4 or 5 year-olds who are deemed high-risk due to developmental delays.

The term “hospital or homebound” includes a student who has a medically diagnosed physical or psychiatric condition or illness, as defined by the state board in rule, and who is confined to the home or hospital for more than 6 months.

  • Students need an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a Florida school district or a formal diagnosis from a Florida licensed physician or psychologist.
  • Students must be at least 3 or 4 on or before Sept 1. Students entering kindergarten must be 5 on or before Sept 1. Students entering first grade must be 6 on or before Sept 1.
  • Students can participate in the Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program as part of home education. However, they cannot be enrolled in a public school or receive any other state-sponsored scholarship (McKay Scholarship or the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship).

     There is no application fee for the Gardiner scholarship.

    The Gardiner Scholarship amount varies according to grade and county of residence. The average amount for most students in the 2017-2018 school year is $10,000. The funding calculation remains the same, and defaults to a matrix that assigns the student to 90% of the 253 level, unless the student’s parent has asked the school district for a revised matrix.

    You are a NEW family if you have not used a Gardiner Scholarship and wish to apply for the 2018-19 school year. You will be required to create an account in order to apply.

We are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. Please click here to apply.

    You are a RENEWAL family if your child used a Gardiner Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year. To apply for 2018-19, you need to log into your existing account with the same email address and password that you used last time.

We are now accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. Please click here to apply.