Step Up Scholarships

Step Up Scholarships are special scholarships that are offered in two different states. One of these scholarships is offered in the State of Florida while the other scholarship is offered to students who are located in the State of Texas. Students may still wish to begin their college scholarship search by completing the FAFSA application, as it is one of the easiest ways to see whether you qualify for funding at the federal or state level. However, after completing the FAFSA application, students may wish to check out these Step Up Scholarships in order to fund their studies:

Step Up Scholarship in Florida: This scholarship has recently been renamed as The Gardiner Scholarship Program. The goal of this program is to enable students who have special needs to access the type of education that they need. Unlike many other states, this money can be used to enable parents to best choose how to obtain an education that will meet the needs of their child. This may include specialists, special schools, a different curriculum, technology, or other services.

The amount of this scholarship varies by the student’ county of residence and their grade in school. The average amount that most students receive is about $10,000. This scholarship is open to students from Florida who are between 3-years-old to 22-years-old. In order to be eligible, students must have a diagnosis of Williams syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, an intellectual disability, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Spina bifida, Prader-Willi syndrome, or Phelan-McDermid syndrome. Students must also be eligible for an IEP based on an evaluation from a psychologist or physician. Applications are being accepted for both new families as well as families who wish to renew their services. Additional information about the Florida Step Up Scholarships can be found at this website.

The Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship was also created to assist students with intellectual disabilities. In this scholarship, the goal is to help students transition from high school to a four-year college where they will obtain and individualized program of study that will meet their educational needs. In order to be eligible, students must enroll in one of the eligible programs, such as TigerLife at the University of Memphis or Next Steps at Vanderbilt University. A full list of eligible institutions can be found at this website.

In order to be eligible, students must graduate from a high school in TN with an IEP and be a resident of TN. Furthermore, the applicant must enroll at an eligible college or university within 16 months after their high school graduation. Students need to reapply for the STEP UP award each year.

Students who are selected to receive this scholarship will receive an award that is valued at $1,750 per semester. There are three deadlines each year, depending on the semester that the student wishes to receive funding. Students who are applying for summer funding have a May 1st deadline, students applying for fall have a September 1st deadline, and students applying for Spring have a February 1st deadline.