Many people believe that private K-12 schools are only for wealthy families. However, parents who do not have disposable income can send their children to these schools now thanks to private school grants in Florida. If you are interested in sending your child to a private school in the Sunshine State, be sure to learn about your funding options.
Why Parents Choose Private Schools
Families that choose private K-12 education over public options come to this decision for many reasons. Families must weigh their financial future, educational goals and local options when they make this personal decision.
In some districts, students get more individualized and rigorous education at the private school options than in the district's public schools. Likewise, public schools in some areas may not be safe or have the funding they need to provide for each student.
In other situations, families choose private schools that uphold their religious beliefs. Other advantages of private schools include:
- Smaller class sizes
- More resources
- Highly qualified teachers
- Opportunities for parental involvement
- Educators do not teach to a test
- Spiritual, athletic and academic opportunities
Cost of Private Schools
Although parents would often prefer the benefits of private schools, cost remains an issue for many families. On average, private elementary schools in Florida cost $7,810 per year while private high schools in the Sunshine State cost about $9,322 annually.
If you cannot afford these tuition rates every year, you are certainly not alone. Across the country, about 20 percent of private school students receive financial aid. Private school funding in Florida can come from publicly funded awards, individual schools and other organizations.
Publicly Funded Private School Grants in Florida
The state government of Florida provides several resources for families who want to send their children to private schools but cannot afford the tuition, including five scholarships:
- Reading Scholarship Accounts: awards $500 for elementary students to enroll in after-school and summer programs
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship: a need-based grant for low-income families
Gardiner Scholarship: awards up to $10,000 per year for private school tuition for students with certain learning differences
- McKay Scholarship: provides school choice for students with specific disabilities
- Hope Scholarship Program: allows victims of bullying and other problems to move to private schools
In April 2019, the Florida government moved toward a voucher system, which would allow families that earn less than $80,000 per year to receive financial assistance for private schools. This bill continues to move through the process of becoming law.
School-Based Scholarships for Private Schools
In addition to seeking government aid for private school funding, you can talk to the administration at your desired school. Private institutions often have scholarship funds and tuition reduction programs for qualifying students.
Some of the school-based financial aid is merit-based. This means that students must show academic or athletic promise. Schools have many ways of assessing merit, so be sure to ask each school for details.
Other programs at schools are need-based. Families provide financial records, such as tax returns, to prove that they earn below a specified threshold. Schools then charge tuition based on what the family can afford.
Seek Funding from Other Organizations
Nonprofit organizations and churches also provide private school scholarships in Florida. For example, you may contact the local church to get help paying for a Catholic school. The Step Up for Students organization also provides five scholarships for different types of students.
Other scholarship options include the AAA Scholarship Foundation and EdChoice. You may also contact local organizations and charities to see what kind of aid they offer. Even businesses can award scholarships to deserving students.
Mackenzie attended Texas Tech University, where she worked in the residence halls for three years. She also volunteered for school event committees and move-in welcome teams. These experiences fueled her passion for higher education and helping college students. Today, she uses her writing to help prospective college students find the right institutions for their needs. She writes for sites like The Best Schools, Nursing.org, Best Colleges, Nurse Journal, and PublicHealth.org.