Written by Daniel Woodruff, University of Florida

2018 House Bill 7055 has created two scholarship opportunities for the upcoming school year: Hope Scholarship Program and Reading Scholarship Accounts. The first scholarship is for public school students (grades K5-12) who experience incidents of bullying, harassment, violence, etc. as described in the Florida Statute 1002.40. The scholarship assists eligible students with either a transfer to another public school or to a participating eligible private school. This program is based on a first come, first serve basis.

Upon receipt of a report of incident, the school will conduct an investigation.  When the investigation is concluded (or within 15 days of the reported incident) the parent will be notified if the student is eligible for the scholarship. The parent must then select an eligible private school and apply for the admission of his or her student. The scholarship awards are contingent on available funding.

The second scholarship is available for students in grades 3-5 that scored lower than Level 3 on their standardized English Language Arts (ELA) assessment in the prior school year. By September 30, the schools are required to notify the parent of the student’s eligibility for the program and the process to apply for the scholarship.  This program is also first come, first serve. Recipients receive $500 for the 2018-2019 school year. The money is contingent on available funds.  Funds can be used for tutoring, instructional material, after school or summer education program provided by an eligible not for profit organization.   Priority is provided to English Learner Students. See Florida Statute 1002.411 for additional details and limitations.

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