Florida

Hope Scholarship Program

  • Tax-Credit Scholarship
  • Enacted 2018
  • Launched 2018

Purchasers of motor vehicles in Florida may donate their sales tax to scholarship-funding organizations (SFOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships victims of bullying and violence in public schools. These students may also transfer to other public school districts. Learn more about the Hope Scholarship Program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.

We do not administer this program.

  • 1st

    Nation’s First Program Specifically for Students Who Are Victims of Bullying or Violence

  • 393

    Participating Students (Fall 2020)

  • 85%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 1,425

    Eligible Schools (2020–21)

  • 1

    Scholarship Organization (2020–21)

  • $7,169

    Maximum Value (2020–21)

  • 66%

    Maximum Value as a Percentage of State’s Public School Per-student Spending

Florida Hope Scholarship Program Participation

Participation
Year Ending

Student Funding

Purchasers of motor vehicles in Florida may direct up to $105 per vehicle purchased to Hope Scholarships, not to exceed the total state sales tax of the purchase. Taxes applied to leases or rentals are not eligible for Hope Scholarship contributions, nor are those paid for heavy trucks, trailers, tractor trailers and motorcycles.

Scholarship-funding organizations must fund cap scholarships using a rate (between 85 and 96 percent) of Florida’s unweighted full-time equivalent amount. These maximum scholarship amounts range between $6,673 and $7,169 depending on a student’s school district and grade level in 2020–21  Students who use the program to transfer to an out-of-district public school are eligible for transportation reimbursement up to $750. SFOs will award scholarships on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority granted to renewing students.

Student Eligibility

Students in grades K–12 who are victims of bullying or violence in public district schools are eligible for Hope Scholarships. Public school officials must notify parents of bullying victims about their Hope Scholarship eligibility after the parent reports a qualifying incident to school officials. Qualifying incidents include battery, harassment,  bullying, kidnapping, physical attack, robbery, sexual assault, threat and intimidation, assault and fighting in school.

Qualifying incidents may occur within a school building, on school property, at any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity, while riding the bus or while waiting at a bus stop. Students attending public charter schools are not eligible. Students must be Florida residents. Students who receive other scholarships from a Florida SFO are not eligible for Hope Scholarships.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Florida’s Hope Scholarship Program helps hundreds of students who had been the victims of bullying or abuse access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity. This is the first educational choice program specifically for bullied students.

Students are eligible for the scholarships if they had been bullied or physically attacked in a public school. Statewide, 4.9 percent of students participate in one of Florida’s private educational choice options (including the Florida Tax-Credit Scholarship Program, the Family Empowerment Scholarships Program, John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, and the Gardiner Scholarship Program). This is the second highest EdChoice share in the nation.

The maximum scholarship size is about $7,100, which is about 79 percent of the average expenditure per student at Florida’s district schools. Tax credits are worth 100% of the value of the contributions to scholarship organizations, but credits are only against the vehicle sales tax and are capped at $105.

In order to expand access to educational choice, Florida policymakers have created the publicly funded Family Empowerment Scholarships Program to serve students who were on the scholarship waitlist.

Florida’s scholarship program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
  • Geographic Limit: None
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Scholarship Cap: Up to 96 percent unweighted FTE ($7,169 in 2020–21)
  • Testing Mandates: National
  • Credit Value: 100 percent
  • Per Donor Credit Cap: $105
  • Budget Cap: None

SFO Requirements

  • Use at least 97 percent of contributions for scholarships
  • Notify parents of receipt of scholarship on first-come, first-served basis
  • Establish a date by which the parent of a participating student must confirm continuation in the program
  • Not charge families an application fee
  • Give priority to renewing students
  • Prepare and submit quarterly reports to Florida’s Department of Education
  • Provide payments to parents or qualified private schools at least quarterly

Governing Statutes

Fla. Stat. § 1002.40

Hope Scholarship Program State Groups

That Support School Choice

ExcelinEd supports state leaders in transforming education to unlock opportunity and lifelong success for each and every child through their policy work.

Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer five scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) for lower-income families, the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs, the Hope Scholarship for public school students who are bullied or victims of violence and the Reading Scholarship Accounts for public school students in third through fifth grade who struggle with reading.