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Press Release

Friday, August 17, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Students Maintain Academic Gains

- Program participants keeping pace with public school peers -

Tallahassee, Fla., August 17, 2012 - A new report (PDF) released today by the Florida Department of Education shows that students in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program overall are maintaining the academic gains earned in the three previous years. This year's report also marks the first time that an individual school's progress has been reported for schools with 30 or more students who have test scores. Seventy of the program's 970 schools met this criterion in 2010-11. The report complies with Florida law that requires students in the scholarship program to take a nationally norm-referenced test.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program was established in 2001 to encourage contributions from corporate donors to non-profit scholarship funding organizations. Scholarships are then provided for eligible students from low income families to attend a participating private school. In 2006, legislation was passed that required schools to administer a nationally norm-referenced test as a way to measure academic gains of students participating in the program. Student test score data is analyzed to determine the performance of students participating in the program with public school students.

As in previous years, program participants tend to come from lower-performing public schools before entering the program and to have been among the lowest-performing students in their prior school, regardless of the school's performance level.

Major findings of the report are below.

  • The typical student in the program scored at the 45th national percentile in reading and the 46th percentile in mathematics when compared with all students nationally regardless of income, about the same as in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
  • The typical student participating in the program gained a year's worth of learning in a year's worth of time.
  • Test score gains for program participants are virtually identical to those of income-eligible non-participants remaining in Florida public schools.
  • Program participants have substantially lower incomes than the non-participant comparison group and were among the lowest-performing students in the public schools they left behind.

About the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program: The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program expands educational opportunities and school choice for children of families with limited financial resources. Corporations receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for up to 100 percent credit of its state income tax. In 2010-11, the scholarship funding organization Step Up For Students awarded more than 34,000 scholarships to eligible children of families with limited financial resources.

For more information about Step Up For Students, visit

For more information about the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, visit