Step Up for Students expects to serve 102,000 students this year.
Today I had the opportunity to participate in a press conference that is highlighting the insurance industry’s participation in the Step Up for Students Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
In summary, Florida insurance companies may elect to contribute a portion of their premium taxes to the Step Up program and receive a corresponding credit from the State of Florida. In return, Step Up uses these funds to create scholarships targeted for students that are stuck in poor performing public schools and students with special needs that require individualized attention not available in their current school. The scholarships may be used at private, public, or charter schools and enable students to further their education at a school and in a manner that better meets their needs.
The scholarships are need-based and Step Up vigorously screens the applicants and their families to make sure they meet the eligibility requirements. The success of the program is continually measured through standardized testing and grade progression. Step Up students have successfully reversed the downward trend in their academic progress to the point where their respective test scores and graduation rates are on par with or greater than all students across Florida regardless of economic background.
For 2017, the Florida insurance industry has committed over $61 million to the Step Up For Students program. Tower Hill is committing $2.2 million as part of this total and has donated more than $3.1 million since our initial participation in the program in 2011. The $61 million from Florida’s insurers will fund nearly 10,000 scholarships for this school year! Through all funding sources, Step Up anticipates providing over 100,000 scholarships this year to students facing economic hardships.
Regardless of political persuasion, most people agree that education is the key element to escaping poverty. Additionally, a better educated community is a more vibrant community and a better place to live for all. Step Up is a driving force in improving our communities, and Tower Hill is proud to be a supporter. For additional information regarding Step Up, please visit stepupforstudents.org.