Gardiner Scholarship & Time4Learning
Time4Learning is proud to be an approved provider for the Gardiner Scholarship, previously known as the Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA)*. This scholarship for students with disabilities allows families to personalize their child’s education for approved programs, services and materials such as schools, therapists, curriculum, technology, and even home education.
Students with any one of many special needs, unique abilities, and certain disabilities are eligible for the Gardiner Scholarship, including those with Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrum disorder, just to name a few.
- What is the Step Up Program?
- Who Awards the Gardiner Scholarship?
- How Can I Get the Gardiner Scholarship For my Child?
- How Does the Special Needs Education Scholarship Work?
- When Can you Apply for Step Up For Students?
- Who is Eligible to Receive the Gardiner Scholarship?
- What Does Step Up For Students Pay For?
- How do I Buy Time4Learning Using my Gardiner Scholarship Money?
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Florida
*The Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) program was passed by the Florida State Legislature in June 2014. In January 2016, it was renamed the Gardiner Scholarship.
What is the Step Up Program?
Step Up For Students (SUFS) is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission it is to help children in Florida attain the best education possible by providing K-12 scholarships. SUFS reviews and approves applications, manages student accounts, reviews claims and process payments.
In addition to providing scholarships for special needs students, they also offer a number of other financial aid options including the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, the Hope Scholarship for bullied students, and the Reading Scholarship Accounts program for reading help.
Who Awards the Gardiner Scholarship?
SUFS is one of two approved Scholarship Funding Organizations for the Gardiner Scholarship. The other is the AAA Scholarship Foundation.
SUFS, like Time4Learning, recognizes that not all children learn the same way. By providing these scholarships for special needs students and support to those who need it most, families are given the freedom to choose the best learning options for their children.
How Can I Get the Gardiner Scholarship For my Child?
There are two Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFO) that currently administer the Gardiner Scholarship: Step up for Students and AAA Scholarship Foundation. Families must apply for the Gardiner Scholarship directly through these organizations.
Before beginning the application process, it’s important for families to review the Gardiner Scholarship requirements to ensure that their students meet certain criteria to be eligible (details below).
It’s important to note that even if approved, families must renew their application each year by the deadline.
How Does the Special Needs Education Scholarship Work?
This Gardiner Scholarship is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. The amount of money awarded varies based on the child’s grade and county of residence.
When Can You Apply for the Gardiner Scholarship?
Each SFO has their own deadlines for applying. With SUFS, new applicants can apply for the Gardiner Scholarship for students with disabilities anytime. Currently, there is no deadline. All new, eligible applicants will be placed on a waitlist since renewal students have priority. Renewal families have funding priority through June 30th of every year; if you apply for renewal thereafter and there is no funding available, the student may be waitlisted. All applications are processed in the order they are received.
AAA Scholarship Foundation’s deadline is usually mid-August. Families can apply online, or print, sign, and mail in their application with all the necessary documents. As with SUFS, renewing families receive first priority, followed by students waitlisted from the previous year, new applicants, and late-filing applicants.
Who is Eligible to Receive the Gardiner Scholarship?
To be eligible for Gardiner Scholarship, certain criteria must be met by the students including, but not limited to:
- Reside in the state of Florida.
- Be between 3 years of age up to 12th grade, or age 22, whichever comes first.
- Have either an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a school district in Florida or a formal diagnosis from a licensed physician or psychologist.
- Have one of several disabilities including, but not limited to: autism spectrum disorder, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome or intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment). For a full list, please visit the SUFS.org website.
How Much Does the Gardiner Scholarship Pay?
The amount of money awarded on the Gardiner Scholarship varies based on a number of factors including the student’s grade, county of residence, and disability. The average amount is typically around $10,000.
- Funds may be used by families for expenses such as:
- Tuition and other fees at eligible private schools
- Specialized therapies and services
- Instructional material
- Postsecondary education
- and more!
How do I Buy Time4Learning Using my Gardiner Scholarship Money?
Time4Learning’s online curriculum is a Certified Autism Resource by IBCCES and is well-suited to support students with special needs for a number of reasons. The student-paced curriculum allows children to progress at their own pace, work across different grade levels, and even repeat lessons as often as they like. There are no schedules to follow giving families the freedom to log in and learn on their time.
Recipients of the Gardiner Scholarship can purchase Time4Learning directly through SUFS.org by logging into MyScholarShop. Families will be able to shop through the online marketplace and funds for purchases will be deducted directly from their available scholarship funds.
Have more questions about homeschooling a child with special needs? Visit Time4Learning’s online forum for parents of students with special needs.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Florida
Have other questions about homeschooling in Florida? You may find the following pages helpful.