The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program assists parents in customizing educational plans for their children who have exceptional needs.
In January 2016, the program, which was previously known as the Personal Learning Scholarship Account, was renamed the Gardiner Scholarship. The new name honors Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and his family, who led the legislative push to establish the program.
For many years, Gardiner and his wife Camille have championed the cause of children with exceptional abilities. The Gardiners have two girls and a boy with Down syndrome, Andrew.
Gardiner Scholarship Program 2021
What makes the Gardiner scholarship so different and unique? Well, for one, the Gardiner Scholarship allows parents to tailor their children’s education by directing money toward a combination of programs and recognized providers. Schools, therapists, experts, curricula, technology, and even a college savings account are among them.
The Scholarship is open to Florida students aged 3 to 22 years old or in the 12th grade who have special needs or impairments.
Requirements for Eligibility
This award is available to Florida students aged 3 to 12, or until they reach the age of 22, whichever comes first, who have one of the following diagnoses:
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Being a child at high risk
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down syndrome
- A behavioral or emotional deficiency
- Hearing loss, including deafness
- Homebound or in the hospital
- Identification as having a dual sensory impairment
- Disability of the mind
- Impairment of language
- Dystrophy of the muscles
- Orthopedic deficiency
- Other health issues
- Phelan-McDermid syndrome
- The Prader-Willi syndrome
- Rare diseases
- Specific learning disability
- Impairment of speech
- Spina bifida
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- Blindness, as well as visual impairment
- Williams syndrome
Students must be at least three or four years old on or before September 1.
Kindergarten students must be 5 years old on or before September 1.
Students entering first grade must be six years old by September 1.
As part of their home education, students can enroll in the Gardiner Scholarship Program (PLSA). However, they cannot be registered for any other state-sponsored scholarship (McKay Scholarship or Florida Tax Credit Scholarship).
Students must have a Florida school district’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or an official diagnosis from a Florida-licensed physician or psychologist.
Gardiner Scholarship Login
If you applied for the Gardiner Scholarship with Step Up in a previous year or have started an application for the 2021-2022 academic year, but you need to access your account to submit papers, check status, and so on.
Log in with your existing account and password byto sign in using your current username and password
If you’ve forgotten your password, use the “Forgot Password” link for assistance.
Gardiner Scholarship Providers
- Providers of specialized services must be one of the following:
- An organization that has been approved as a provider by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).
- A person who is licensed by the Florida Department of Health.
- A member of staff who works for an organization that has been designated as a provider by the Office of Early Learning for Specialized Instructional Services Provider (SIS), which includes behavior analysts certified by the Behavioral Analyst Certification Board.
- An individual who is identified as practicing in the state of Florida on the BACB website.
- Approved providers’ specialized services include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Services for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
- A licensed Speech Language Pathologist provides services (SLP)
- Services rendered by a professional occupational therapist or licensed physical therapists
- Listening and spoken language specialists provide services 4 Rev. 81515
- Other specialist services offered by a licensed provider
Gardiner Scholarship Application
Renewal Families: If your kid received a Step-Up Gardiner scholarship (previously PLSA) for the 2017-2018 school year,to apply for the 2021 school year or to log in using your existing user name and password.
New Families: They are also taking scholarship applications for the 2021 academic year, with priority given to kids who have previously been waitlisted.
To create an online application, all applicants must have an email address. To begin the application, you must first create an active email address.
Please click on the link below to start your application if you are a first-time applicant.
What Does the Gardiner Scholarship Pay For?
The amount of the Scholarship varies depending on grade, county of domicile, and disability. The sums of the awards for the 2021-22 academic year are still being determined.
The computed scholarship amount for a student participating in the program who has a Level I to Level III matrix of services or a diagnosis by a physician or psychologist must be based on the grade level and school district in which the kid would have been enrolled.
The funds must be allocated based on the average exceptional student education guaranteed allocation funds per exceptional student education full-time equivalent student in the school district.
The computed scholarship amount for a student with a Level IV or Level V matrix of services must be based on the school district to which the student would have been allocated as the total funds per full-time equivalent for the Level IV or Level V exceptional student education program.
The amount of the grant for a student who won a Gardiner Scholarship in the 2020-2021 school year will be the greater of the amount determined above or the amount the student received for the 2020-2021 school year.
Application Closing Date
All applications must be submitted on or before June 30, 2021, as those who submit before the deadline will be granted financing priority.
Due to a requirement to prioritize renewal students, all new students found qualified for the Gardiner Scholarship 2021 will be placed on a waitlist.
This Scholarship might just be your saving grace if you have a special needs child.
The Gardiner scholarship recognizes the hardship parents go through in caring for their special needs kids and thus lightens some of the hardship.