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Personalized Education Program (PEP) FAQs

On March 27, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 1, expanding education options for all K-12 students in Florida. The bill created the Personalized Education Program (PEP) as an option under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Parents direct the education of PEP students, and receive access to funds in an education savings account (ESA) for their student.

A student learning plan is defined in statute as a customized learning plan developed by a parent to guide instruction for his or her student and to identify the goods and services needed to address the academic needs of his or her student. These plans must be submitted to the SFO annually, before the student is approved for initial participation or renewal. Information on the format of student learning plans is available from the SFO.

No. The PEP program is distinct from home education programs established in section 1002.41, Florida Statutes. If a home education student receives PEP scholarship funds, parents should file a written notice of termination for the home education program and alert the district to the student’s participation in PEP.

While both categories of students are considered to be homeschoolers, there are key differences.

  • PEP students are registered with an SFO; home education students are registered with their school district.
  • Parents of PEP students must prepare and submit a student learning plan to their SFO annually. No similar requirement exists for home education programs.
  • PEP students must take a norm-referenced test annually, and the results must be submitted to the SFO. Home education students must be evaluated annually using one of five approved methods, and the results are submitted to their school district.

There are significant similarities for students in both programs. Section 1002.01, Florida Statutes, specifies that PEP students are provided the same flexibility and opportunities as home education program students, which includes

  • Participation in interscholastic extracurricular student activities
  • Participation in the Bright Futures Scholarship Program
  • Participation in dual enrollment programs
  • Eligibility for admission to Florida College System institutions and state universities

Parents of PEP students may choose from the same list of assessments that are approved for other scholarship students attending participating private schools. The list of approved norm-referenced tests is available on our website at Alternatively, parents may arrange with their school district to have their student take Florida's statewide assessments given to public school students.

For the 2023-24 school year, up to 20,000 students may participate in PEP. The participation cap increases in future years.

A parent of a student may apply for participation in PEP if the student is a Florida resident and is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a public school in this state.

Priority is given first to students whose household income level does not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level or who is in foster care or out-of-home care, then to students whose household income level exceeds 185% of the federal poverty level, but does not exceed 400%.

Families apply to one of the two approved SFOs. Those organizations are responsible for collecting and evaluating documentation in support of the applications. They also manage education savings accounts (ESAs) on behalf of the families.

Since PEP is an option under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC), parents must apply for FTC with an eligible non-profit scholarship funding organization that is administering the program. For a list of non-profit scholarship funding organizations please visit the Department's SFO website.

With an ESA, parents receive a deposit of scholarship funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple uses. The PEP ESA can be used to fund items such as online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials.

Scholarship program law establishes categories for eligible uses of scholarship funds. Requests for purchases and reimbursements from ESA funds are reviewed by SFOs to verify eligibility under program rules.

  • Instructional materials and curriculum
  • Tuition or fees for the following
    • a home education program
    • part-time enrollment in an eligible private school
    • an eligible postsecondary educational institution
    • an approved preapprenticeship program
    • part-time tutoring by a certified educator
    • a virtual program offered by a Department-approved private online provider, an approved online course, or the Florida Virtual School as a private paying student
    • norm-referenced achievement tests, Advanced Placement Examinations, industry certification examinations, assessments related to postsecondary education, or other assessments
    • annual evaluation of educational progress by a certified teacher
    • contracted services provided by a public school or school district, including classes
    • services provided by a Choice Navigator

A Choice Navigator is defined in statute as someone who provides consultations, at a mutually agreed upon location, on the selection of, application for, and enrollment in educational options addressing the academic needs of a student; curriculum selection; and advice on career and postsecondary education opportunities. Choice Navigators do not oversee or exercise control over the curricula or academic programs of PEP students, and parents are not required to use the services of a Choice Navigator.

The parent of a student enrolled in a private school participating in PEP is responsible for

  • Submitting a student learning plan to the SFO and revising the plan at least annually before renewal
  • Procuring the services necessary to educate the student
  • Requiring his or her student to take a nationally norm-referenced test identified by the Department of Education, or a statewide assessment under s. 1008.22, and providing assessment results to the SFO before the student’s program renewal
  • Using program funds only for authorized purposes that serve the student’s educational needs. The parent of a scholarship student who receives a payment, refund, or rebate of PEP funds in any manner is in violation of scholarship program law and is subject to denial or revocation of program eligibility.
  • Fulfilling financial obligations for all eligible expenses in excess of the amount of the scholarship as applicable.
  • Renewing participation in the program each year and providing any necessary documentation in support of the application or renewal.
  • Signing an agreement with the SFO annually, to include a sworn compliance statement, and meeting deadlines and other requirements established by the SFO.