The Gardiner Scholarship is a scholarship program that is specially designed for individuals with disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, spina bifida, Prader-Williams syndrome, intellectual disability, and other rare disorders such as visually impaired, deaf, dual sensory impaired, anaphylaxis, and traumatic brain injury.
The Gardiner scholarship is pioneered by Step Up for Students (SUFS), a non-profit and also an approved scholarship-funding organization. It also has the full support of the state government of Florida as it has become the second state in the United States after Arizona that has created an education savings account program for children with special needs.
This scholarship program bears the brunt of parents that are not financially stable as it enables parents to personalize the education of their children by directing funds towards the combination of programs and other approved program providers. It also encourages parents that have children with disabilities to apply by creating an account here.
The Gardiner Scholarship is valued at $10,000 for its recipients annually and can be reimbursed in cases where the family of the child or individual needs it again.
Eligibility Requirements For The Gardiner Scholarship
- Intending applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida
- Intending applicants must be within the age range of 3 to 22 years old
- Intending applicants must be suffering from different disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, spina bifida, and other rare disorders such as traumatic brain injury or deafness.
- Intending applicants are to possess an individualized education plan (IEP) which can be gotten from a Florida school district, in cases where such isn’t available; applicants can also present an official diagnosis from an approved and licensed Florida physician or psychologist.
- Intending students must not be registered for any other state-sponsored scholarships.
How To Apply For The Gardiner Scholarship
Parents with children that are suffering from disabilities can apply for this scholarship by following these simple steps.
- First step is creating a step up for students (SUFS) account on http://www.stepupforstudents.org/
- Submit different supporting documents to confirm the students’ age, diagnosis, residency in Florida, and also sworn compliance with the rules that govern the program
- Submit a final verification document that would tell if the student is enrolled in a private school, home school, or withdrawn from public school.
- Eligible parents would be notified via email after the scholarship board must have run their background record on the student and also checked if the individual is enrolled in another scholarship program or not.
- After you must have become eligible for the scholarship program, the next step is to set up your scholarship account. The list below best explains how to set up your Gardiner scholarship account after you must have been confirmed eligible for the scholarship.
How to Set Up a Gardiner Scholarship Account (After Eligibility)
- Head to the step up for students website and choose login
- Head to the “special needs scholarship” and click on login
- Enter your login details that you used to register when you were creating the account
- After you must have logged in, head to the My information section and scroll to the bank information section, which is at the bottom of the page.
- After you must have seen the bank information section, proceed to fill in your banking information and make sure it’s correct, as that’s where the scholarship funds would be disbursed to.
- After you must have filled in all the information, proceed to save the information.
Parents can also reapply for reimbursement of the scholarship the following year in cases where they need financial aid.
- Students that are enrolled in a public school wouldn’t qualify for this scholarship as funds wouldn’t be disbursed to them until they are withdrawn from public school.
- After a student has received this scholarship, such a child must not be found in a public school as the scholarship board would return the funds that were deposited into the student’s Gardiner account back to the state of Florida.
- Recipients of this scholarship must not be enrolled in any other scholarship program
Frequently Asked Questions about the Gardiner scholarship program
Is there an application fee for the Gardiner scholarship? No, disregard any news or information claiming that the Gardiner scholarship prompts individuals to pay an application fee.
How many scholarship slots are available? The scholarship board provides up to 20,000 scholarships for students annually.
What can I do with the disbursed scholarship funds? Parents and recipients of this scholarship funds are told to use the disbursed fund to pay for the tuition and other fees for the students at an accredited and eligible private school; subsequently, the money can also be used for the student’s wellbeing, i.e., therapy.
Can disabled students in public schools get this scholarship fund? No, students who are in public schools wouldn’t get this fund until they are withdrawn from the school.
Can a resident of another state apply for this scholarship program? No, the Gardiner scholarship is only available to students that are residents of Florida.
Can my disabled child receive this scholarship fund after going beyond the age of 22? No, the Gardiner scholarship is only meant for disabled students that are between the ages of 3 to 22 years, as students that have gone past this age wouldn’t get any funds again.
Can I still home-school my disabled child even after receiving this scholarship funding? Yes, parents can still educate their children at home even after receiving this scholarship fund.
Need additional info? Then you can check out the scholarship’s official website or be a part of their social media community on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.