The Impact of Step Up for Students on Florida’s Education System

Step Up for Students is a non-profit organization in Florida that provides scholarships to low-income students to attend private schools. Since its inception in 2002, the program has had a significant impact on the state’s education system.

The History of Step Up for Students

The program was started as a pilot program in 2002 by John Kirtley, a Tampa businessman. It began with just over 1,000 students and has grown significantly since then. Today, Step Up for Students serves over 100,000 students throughout Florida.

How Step Up for Students Works

The organization provides two types of scholarships: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship. The Tax Credit Scholarship is funded by donations from corporations who receive tax credits in return. The Family Empowerment Scholarship is funded by the state government.

To be eligible for either scholarship, students must come from families with low incomes or have certain disabilities. Once approved, they can choose to attend any private school that participates in the program.

The Impact of Step Up for Students

Step Up for Students has had a positive impact on both the students who receive scholarships and on Florida’s education system as a whole.

Firstly, it has given low-income families more choice when it comes to their children’s education. They are no longer limited to attending their local public school and can choose a private school that better suits their child’s needs.

Secondly, by providing scholarships to thousands of students each year, it has put pressure on public schools to improve. Schools now have to compete with private schools for students and funding.

Finally, studies have shown that students who receive scholarships through Step Up for Students perform better academically than their peers who remain in public schools.

Criticisms of Step Up for Students

Despite its success, Step Up for Students has faced criticism from some who argue that it takes funding away from public schools. However, the program is funded by private donations and state government funds that would not have been available to public schools anyway.


In conclusion, Step Up for Students has had a significant impact on Florida’s education system. By providing scholarships to low-income students, it has given families more choice and put pressure on schools to improve. The success of the program is evidenced by the academic achievements of its recipients.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.