Florida ESA Program Runs Out of Funding Because of Huge Demand

Published December 13, 2017

Florida’s education savings account (ESA) program for special needs students doesn’t have enough funding for all the families who want to participate:

Demand for the nation’s largest education savings account program has outstripped supply.

Roughly 10,150 students are receiving Gardiner Scholarships this school year. That means the program has exhausted all the available funding for scholarships for the first time since its creation in 2014.

An additional 1,270 students have been approved for funding, but have not been able to receive it. That’s according to figures from Step Up For Students, the largest nonprofit organization that helps administer the program.

“We have definitely exhausted every last dollar, every last penny,” said Gina Lynch, Step Up’s Vice President of Operations. “There is healthy demand for the program.” The program allows families to pay for a wide range of education-related expenses, from therapy and homeschool curriculum to public school courses and private school tuition, for qualifying children with special needs.

No child, least of all a special needs student, should be denied the type of education he or she wants. Universally accessible ESAs would ensure all families have access to the type of education they need, and no child would have to do without. The question is: What are we waiting for?

SOURCE: Redefineedonline.org


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