Florida DOE releases numbers for state scholarship program

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship enrollment by grade level, 2020-21

Official enrollment figures for the
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship are in. According to the September 2020 quarterly report, released this week by the Florida Department of Education, 100,008 students enrolled in the program for the 2020-21 school year.

The program, which relies on private corporate donations that receive 100 percent state tax credits, is available to low-income and working-class students in Florida. Approximately 74% of scholarship students are non-white, and 55% live in single-parent households. The average annual family income of scholarship students is about $33,000.

As with past years, the majority of students (58,535) are enrolled in grades K-5, where tuition costs are often the lowest.

This year, 1,899 private schools across 64 Florida counties enrolled students in the FTC program. Of those schools, 66% identified as a religious school. Miami-Dade County enrolled the most students – 23,344. Calhoun, Holmes and Union counties had no participating private schools, while Calhoun and Liberty counties had no participating students.

This year’s September enrollment figure is 22 students fewer than the September 2019 report (which was 100,030). At the same time, enrollment in a similar program, the Florida Empowerment Scholarship, has doubled. According to a Florida Department of Education spokesperson, the FES program increased from fewer than 18,000 students at the end of 2019-20, its first year, to 36,161 students this year. 

Like the FTC, the FES is geared toward low-income and working-class students. The FES is funded directly by the state and the household income threshold is roughly $10,000 higher. This year, a family of four could qualify for the FES program if its household income was lower than $78,600, whereas the FTC program caps eligibility at $68,120 for a family of four.

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Florida DOE releases numbers for state scholarship program