At this time a waitlist is still active for the PEP Scholarship to ensure we do not over-award as we approach the 2023-24 scholarship capacity.
Join the Pre-Registration List for the 2024-25 school year to be among the first notified when applications open.
Supporting Florida's Students Through Personalized Education
The program will serve 20,000 students in the 2023-24 school year and grow by 40,000 annually.
Personalizing Education for Florida Students
Who Is Eligible?
How Does It Work?
Fees for services provided by a Choice Navigator*
What is Required?
PEP students must:
- Declare a grade level, which is used to determine student eligibility and scholarship values.
- Submit and maintain a Student Learning Plan (SLP) annually. Parents develop this customized learning plan to guide instruction for their students and address the services needed to fulfill their child’s academic needs. It does not determine what a parent can purchase with scholarship funds.
- Withdraw as a full-time public or private school student or terminate a home education program with their school district and enroll as a PEP student with Step Up For Students.
- Take a norm-referenced test annually, and submit the results to the SFO. Parents of PEP students may choose from the same list of assessments that are approved for other scholarship students attending participating private schools. Alternatively, parents/guardians may arrange with their school district of residence to have your student take Florida's statewide assessments given to public school students. These assessments must be taken at a scheduled date and time and at school site designated by the district. If you would like your student to take a statewide assessment, these are the available assessments* (all administered in May 2024):
- Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) for Grades 3–10 Reading and Grades 3–8 Mathematics
- Science for Grades 5 and 8
- End-of-Course assessments for Algebra 1, Biology 1, Civics, Geometry, and U.S. History
* You must contact your school district’s assessment office by their local deadline to register for statewide testing. Do not contact your local public school or arrive for testing without making prior arrangements through the district office.
There are no specific hourly requirements for students, and parents are not required to keep a record of the number of instructional hours/days.
|Persons in family/household
up to 185%
|Up to $26,973
|Up to $58,320
|Each additional member
|Each additional member
|Based on guidelines published by the Department of Health & Human Services in National Registry on January 2023
Choice Navigator Frequently Asked Questions
- How does a person become a Choice Navigator (what are the requirements)?
- A Choice Navigator holds a valid Florida teacher certification, adjunct teacher certification, a bachelor or graduate degree in the subject area where any instruction is given, demonstrated mastery of subject area knowledge, or is certified through an internationally recognized research-based training program approved by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE).
- How much does it cost to pay for a Choice Navigator?
- The cost of the service will be determined by each Choice Navigator.
- Are Choice Navigators required?
- No, they are optional for all scholarship students. They are intended to help guide parents and guardians through the many educational choices available to them.
- What authority does the Choice Navigator have over the PEP student?
- None. The Choice Navigator is merely a guide to help you.
- Is the choice navigator required to meet with the student?
- Does the Choice Navigator have to meet with the parents in the student’s home?
- Is there a list of teachers qualified to be a Choice Navigator if I can’t find one on my own?
- Step Up will create a list of approved Choice Navigators once we have collected their information.
- How do I find a Choice Navigator?
- Choice Navigators will sign up and be listed in EMA as service providers, like part-time tutors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Personalized Education Program (PEP)?
PEP, funded through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, is an education savings account program that allows parents to customize the education of students who are not attending public or private schools full-time. PEP will allow parents to purchase instructional materials, pay for part-time tuition at public or private schools and even tuition and fees in home education instructional programs.
What are the requirements for a PEP student?
- Must be registered with a Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) approved scholarship-funding organization (SFO)
- Must not be enrolled full-time in a public school, charter school, school for the deaf and blind, college preparatory academy, developmental research school, or juvenile justice school.
- Be at least age 5 by Sept 1, of the school year in which they wish to enroll.
- Must annually submit a Student Learning Plan (SLP) to the SFO.
- Must take an FLDOE-approved national norm-referenced test and submit results to the SFO.
- Must complete a sworn compliance statement through the SFO.
What is the Student Learning Plan and how will it affect my child’s education?
- A Student Learning Plan (SLP) is a customized learning plan developed by parents at least annually to guide instruction for their students and to address the services needed to fulfill the academic needs of their students.
- SLPs are only required for students in the Personalized Education Program.
What will this education savings account pay for?
Instructional material (including digital materials and internet resources), curriculum, tuition for full-time or part-time enrollment in a home education instructional program, education at an eligible postsecondary educational institution or approved apprenticeship program, fees for nationally standardized norm-referenced tests and other assessments, contracted services provided by a public school or school district, tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services, an approved virtual course, tuition as a private pay student at Florida Virtual School, and fees for a “Choice Navigator.”
How do I apply for a PEP scholarship if my student will not be in full-time private school?
Parents apply for the scholarship through a scholarship-funding organization like Step Up For Students
How many PEP students can receive a scholarship?
The law limits the program to 20,000 students for the 2023-24 school year. The program will grow by 40,000 students per year thereafter.
Why do I have to apply through the Income-based scholarships (Florida Tax Credit Scholarship/FTC) to apply for PEP?
HB1 requires PEP students to be funded through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC). FTC and PEP students are both using the same funding source.
Will I have to officially terminate my home education program?
Yes, a student cannot be both registered in the PEP program and as a home education program student with the district. You will need to notify your school district of your intention to terminate your home education program and enroll as a PEP student through an SFO.
Is a PEP student permitted to take classes at a career and technical program or school?
Yes, you may pay for part-time enrollment through PEP.
Will the SFO issue a diploma if we are registered as a PEP student?
PEP students are treated the same as home education students in Florida for the purposes of graduating and earning a diploma. There is no diploma issued by the public school system or SFO in Florida for the completion of a home education program. A signed affidavit of completion (notarized letter, see here) submitted by the student’s parent attesting that the student has completed a home education program, pursuant to the requirements of s.1002.41, F.S. is the legal document of completion. As stated in s.1007 263(2)(a), F.S. it is equivalent to a high school diploma and is regularly accepted by state colleges and universities as proof of high school completion. This statement can be included on a student’s academic transcript or parent-issued diploma. While not required, some students elect to culminate their home education program by taking the General Educational Development (GED) test. A student is issued a diploma from the Department of Education upon passage of the GED. The toll-free number for information pertaining to the GED is 1-800-237-5113
Can PEP students be enrolled in Florida Unschoolers?
There would be no need since you are meeting the FL mandatory attendance requirements through the PEP program requirements.
Dual Enrollment and Extracurricular Activities
Will PEP enrollment cause me to lose access to Dual Enrollment programs?
No, PEP students are still eligible for free dual enrollment programs. You will not be required to pay for these courses with your PEP account.
Are PEP students eligible to participate in extracurricular activities with a public, private or charter school?
Yes. PEP students are offered the same flexibility as home education students.
Are PEP students eligible to participate in any interscholastic or intrascholastic activity at a public, private or charter school, or just athletics?
Yes. PEP students are offered the same flexibility as home education students.
Are PEP students allowed to participate in FHSAA athletic programs?
Yes. PEP students are allowed to participate in athletics like other non-traditional students. Read more on the FHSAA website here.
Who will verify the student is enrolled in the PEP for extracurricular activities?
The public school district where the student lives will maintain this responsibility.
Will PEP students be required to follow all the by-laws and rules of the FHSAA?
Any student participating in an FHSAA-sanctioned program must abide by their by-laws and rules.
Bright Futures Scholarships
Are PEP students eligible for the Bright Futures Scholarship?
Yes. Students who were in 11th grade in home ed last year and switch to PEP this year will also retain eligibility.
How does a PEP student submit their volunteer hours?
Students will continue reporting volunteer hours to their local public school district.
How does Bright Futures enrollment work for a PEP student?
Students will be able to select “PEP” in a dropdown menu when apply for Bright Futures.
Does the SFO need to certify a PEP student’s enrollment in Bright Futures?
Your local school district will work with FLDOE to certify the student’s enrollment.
Is testing required?
PEP students are required to take a state-approved norm-referenced test and submit the results to their SFO before renewing the PEP scholarship. A list of approved tests can be found here.
Where can PEP students take the state-approved norm-referenced tests?
Test accommodations and location requirements vary by test. Some tests will require a test proctor in a school setting, but others may allow for tests to be taken at alternative locations.
What happens to my child’s test score?
It will be collected by their SFO and sent to the Learning Institute at Florida State University for score reporting.
Scholarship Spending and Reimbursement
How do I use the scholarship funds?
Guardians may purchase goods and services directly and be reimbursed or may pay for goods and services with approved vendors through EMA and MyScholarShop.
Is the Reimbursement Card optional and can families still get reimbursed directly to their bank account?
Starting in January 2024, reimbursements will now be managed through the family's EMA account, replacing the U.S. Bank Focus Cards. Families seeking a reimbursement can select from one of 3 payment methods: Direct Bank Transfer, Check, or PayPal®. Learn more >
What if I have funds left on my U.S. Bank Focus Card?
Families with a balance on their U.S. Bank Focus Card can continue to use those funds until they run out, withdraw them at a bank or call U.S. Bank and request a check for the balance that remains on the card. New reimbursement funds will not be added to the U.S. Bank Focus Card after January 8, 2023. If you need assistance with your U.S. Bank Focus Card, call (888) 863-0681.
What factors should I consider when choosing between a direct bank transfer, mailed check, or PayPal®?
When choosing between direct bank transfer, Check, or PayPal®, consider factors such as speed of access, convenience, banking access and accessibility. Click here for details >
If there is an issue with the card, who do Parents/Guardians contact for help?
There is a dedicated customer service hotline for SUFS Reimbursement Card users. Call 888-863-0681.
Will Parents/Guardians be notified when Reimbursements are being processed?
Families will be notified by email once their reimbursement has been processed and funds have been added to your card. Reimbursement requests will be processed as they are received.