Vouchers Update: Florida

Vouchers Update: Florida
Voucher programs are proliferating nationwide. We look at the voucher program available in Florida.

I wrote my first article on vouchers in 2008. While the media portrays it as a controversial issue, I have always tried to take a balanced approach when I write about vouchers. School Choice: Vouchers, Scholarships, and More; Vouchers aka Tax Credits and Scholarships; What Strings Do School Vouchers Have Attached?; Charter Schools and Vouchers illustrate my thoughts on the subject.

This time, because so much more information about voucher programs is available, I asked an authoritative source to answer my questions on your behalf.

Rob K: What is the purpose of a private school voucher program?

ChatGPT: A private school voucher program aims to provide families with publicly-funded scholarships or vouchers that can be used to pay for tuition at private schools rather than at public schools. The goal of such programs is typically to increase school choice and provide families with access to educational options that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Proponents of voucher programs argue that they promote competition among schools and can help improve education quality by giving families more options and forcing schools to compete for students. They also argue that voucher programs can help to reduce educational inequality by providing low-income families access to high-quality private schools that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Critics of voucher programs argue that they divert public funds away from public schools, which can lead to reduced resources and lower-quality education for students who remain in the public system. They also argue that voucher programs can lead to increased segregation and decreased accountability, as private schools are not subject to the same regulations and oversight as public schools.

Overall, the purpose of a private school voucher program is a matter of debate and controversy, and opinions on the effectiveness and impact of such programs vary widely depending on one's perspective and political ideology.

Rob K: Which states have voucher programs for private school education?

ChatGPT: Several states in the United States had voucher programs for private school education. However, it's important to note that these programs can change over time, so this information may not be completely up-to-date.

Here are some states that had voucher programs for private school education as of 2021:

  1. Florida
  2. Indiana
  3. Louisiana
  4. Ohio
  5. Wisconsin

In addition, several other states had similar programs, such as tax-credit scholarships or education savings accounts, providing families with public funds for private school tuition and related expenses. These states include Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

It's essential to research each program's specifics and consult with education professionals and advocates before making decisions about private school education.

Rob K: Describe the specifics of Florida's voucher program for K-12 private school education.

ChatGPT: Florida's voucher program for K-12 private school education is called the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. It is a program that provides scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools in the state.

Here are some of the key specifics of the program:


To be eligible for the scholarship, students must meet specific income requirements. For the 2020-2021 school year, students from families with incomes up to 260% of the federal poverty level ($68,120 for a family of four) were eligible. Students must also be enrolled in a public school the previous year or enter kindergarten or first grade.

Scholarship Amount

The scholarship amount varies depending on the student's grade level and the county where they reside. For the 2020-2021 school year, the maximum scholarship amount was $7,250 for students in grades K-5, $7,750 for students in grades 6-8, and $8,000 for students in grades 9-12.

School Choice

Students who receive the scholarship can choose to attend any participating private school that meets specific requirements, including being accredited by a recognized accrediting association, being financially stable, and adhering to state health and safety regulations. There are currently over 2,000 participating private schools in Florida.

Application Process

Parents can apply for the scholarship online through a designated scholarship-funding organization. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but priority is given to renewing students and those on the waiting list. Once a student is approved, the scholarship funding organization will notify the family and the chosen private school.


Students can renew their scholarships each year if they continue to meet eligibility requirements and the private school they attend remains eligible.

It's important to note that there are some criticisms of Florida's voucher program, including concerns about accountability and the use of public funds for private schools. However, supporters argue that the program provides low-income families with more educational options and helps to promote school choice.

This newscast reports on the expansion of Florida's voucher program.

Rob K: Does every private school accept vouchers?

ChatGPT: No, only some private schools accept vouchers. While private schools participating in voucher programs must meet certain eligibility requirements and abide by specific regulations, they are not required to accept every student who applies with a voucher.

Private schools have their admission criteria and limited space, so they may only be able to accommodate some students who apply with a voucher. Additionally, some private schools may not participate in voucher programs because they do not agree with the regulations and requirements or choose not to.

It's important for families considering private school education with vouchers to research which private schools in their area participate in the voucher program and to contact those schools to determine if they have space available and if they are a good fit for their child's educational needs.

This video reports on some opposing views about Florida's voucher program.

Some Words of Advice

You choose whether to send your child to a public or private school. That's what voucher programs are all about school choice. You know what your child needs better than anybody else. So, discuss her academic abilities, her other interests, and her social adjustment. These factors will drive your decision. Put another way, if she's in a public school with an excellent athletics program that she's crazy about, but the school's academics are below average, perhaps you'd be better off enriching her academics. You have plenty of online resources to make that happen. Look at the whole educational picture and know where your child is headed.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @privateschoolreview

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