The Gardiner Scholarship Program

The Gardiner Scholarship Program provides eligible students a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products in order to design a customized educational program for the student. Scholarships can be used for specialized services such as speech or occupational therapy, instructional materials, tuition at an eligible private school, contributions to a college prepaid account and more. The program is directly administered by state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organizations.

Who is eligible to receive a Gardiner Scholarship?

To be eligible to receive a scholarship a student must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Is a resident of this state;
  • Is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a public school in this state or will be 3 or 4 years old before September 1;
  • Has a disability as defined below:
    Autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, an intellectual disability, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Williams syndrome or a high-risk child as defined in s. 393.063(23)(a), Florida Statutes.
  • Is the subject of an IEP (individual educational plan) written in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education or has received a diagnosis of a disability as defined above from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a psychologist who is licensed in this state. 

How do I apply for the Gardiner Scholarship Program?

The Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFO) listed below are approved to administer the Gardiner Scholarship Program.  Contact the SFO for instructions and deadlines for applying for a scholarship. 

A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation
Phone: 888-707-2465  

Step Up for Students
Phone: 877-735-7837 


How much is the average scholarship amount?

The amount of a child's scholarship is dependent on a number of different factors, including grade level, county of residence and a student's individual level of need. The average full scholarship amount is approximately $10,000.  The percentage of scholarship a student qualifies depends on the date eligibility is confirmed by the scholarship funding organization.

September 1   100%

November 1    75%

February 1       50%

April 1             25%

How are Gardiner Scholarship students evaluated for educational progress?

Private schools that enroll students on the scholarship must annually administer or make provisions for students participating in the program in grades 3 through 10 to take one of the nationally norm-referenced tests identified by the Department of Education or the statewide assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22. Students with disabilities for whom standardized testing is not appropriate are exempt from this requirement. A participating private school shall report a student’s scores to the parent.

Gardiner Scholarship FAQs
Gardiner Scholarship Statute & Rule

Eligible Service Providers

Health Care Practitioners-Regulation
Health Care Practitioners-License Search
Agency for Persons with Disabilities Providers
Office of Early Learning - SIS Providers
List of accredited nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions - Dec 2015, Excel