Step Up For Students Gardiner Scholarship Program

Step Up For Students Organization is pleased to announce its Gardiner Scholarship Program for children with certain special needs. The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs. The scholarship is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities and give their children a chance at a brighter future. The average amount for most students in the 2016-2017 school year is $10,000.

Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer two scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for low-income families and the Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) for children with certain special needs.

Gardiner Scholarship

Eligibility for Gardiner scholarship:

  • The 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, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome or intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment).
  • Also, students ages 3, 4 or 5 deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays may be eligible for the year they apply. (Please note: Students must not be older than 5 on Sept. 1.)
  • 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).

How to Apply:

Renewal Families: If your child is using a Step Up Gardiner Scholarship (previously known as PLSA) for the 2015-16 school year, kindly check the given link to apply for the 2016-17 school year or access your account using your existing username and password.

New Families: They are also accepting applications from new families for the Gardiner Scholarship (special needs) for the 2016-17 school year. All applicants must have an active email address to create an online application. If you do not have an active email address, please create one prior to starting the application.

Award Amount:

Scholarship amount varies according to grade and county of residence. The average amount for most students in the 2016-2017 school year is $10,000 and based on a matrix level of 253. Candidates can check the given link for awards:

Application Deadline:


Link for More Information:

Contact Information:

If you have questions, you can call at 1-877-735-7837

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