ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A new school voucher program awaits the governor's signature.

  • Legislature passes bill for family scholarships
  • Still leaves questions on how family would afford full private school tuition
  • Threshold remains very strict
  • Step Up For Students

The Florida Legislature passed on Tuesday the bill that creates the Family Empowerment Scholarships. Many are questioning how a family would qualify for this money to send their child to private school.

Step Up for Students is the organization that has vetted families and their applications to four of the school vouchers or scholarships in Florida since 2002.

They'll take on the review of applications for the new Family Empowerment Scholarship.

To sign up, you would need to show proof of residence, financial documents and meet the requirements of making 300 percent of the federal poverty level or less.

"If you're a family of four, it's about $77,000 and under and you can qualify for a scholarship that'll get you at least $6,000 to go to a private school around the state of Florida," said Step Up for Students spokesperson Patrick Gibbons.

That threshold is very strict.

Even if you only make $500 over the limit, you would not qualify.

Another big requirement for families having just moved to Florida, unless your child is entering kindergarten, he or she must have a year in the public school system before applying.

The big question now is will Step Up for Students be ready to process the 18,000 new scholarships available to the nearly 3 million students statewide?

Step Up for Students officials told Spectrum Bay News 9 they should be ready by July 1.

The new school voucher program will increase in the coming years to approximately 7,000 more scholarships.