CCA's Opportunity Scholarship
With the passing of HB1, you may have questions about how changes to the Family Empowerment Scholarship affect Classical Christian Academy, tuition, and scholarship opportunities for our families.
Classical Christian Academy is an independent school and does not receive any government funding. However, CCA helps parents afford private, Christian education through its own scholarship program. CCA’s Opportunity Scholarship is a need-based scholarship that is funded through donations and a portion of our operating budget. Our goal is to continue to be a competitive school option for families in our area. CCA awards an average of 30% per student to families that apply for our scholarship program.
The State of Florida offers financial assistance for families through its Family Empowerment Scholarship. In March 2023, Florida’s government passed HB1, which expanded the scholarship to include a greater number of students and cover a greater number of services.
Classical Christian Academy remains ineligible to participate in this scholarship program, and we want to help you understand why and what additional scholarship opportunities are available to help your family afford and take full advantage of a private, classical Christian education.
WHY CCA IS INELIGIBLE FOR THE FAMILY EMPOWERMENT SCHOLARSHIP?
CCA is recognized as a private school by the state of Florida. Despite misleading media coverage, not all private schools are eligible to receive these funds. To be eligible,
a school must meet a number of different qualifications. One, in particular, disqualifies CCA; they must provide in-person instruction for “170 actual school days.” CCA is ineligible because the state does not count a student’s time schooling with their parent as eligibility for the scholarship.
But, the scholarship is for homeschoolers, too. Yes, you’re right. Homeschool families are eligible to apply for the Family Empowerment Scholarship to use toward many different educational costs. And, yes, CCA parents do have homeschool responsibilities because they are teaching new material at home two days a week. However, CCA is not eligible to receive the money as an educational services provider because CCA is recognized as a private school by the state of Florida.
While there is a great deal of media coverage about this scholarship, there are still many unknowns. Floridians still do not know two important things: 1) how many students will benefit from the expanded scholarships and 2) what the average scholarship amount will be.
We recognize that many CCA families are now eligible to apply to receive Family Empowerment funds. But, we know from past experience that applying for funds and being awarded funds are two different things.
House Bill 1 uses language that indicates there is some instability and many possible outcomes in implementing this newly passed threshold. Wording such as “…who did not receive a renewal or initial scholarship based solely on the lack of available funds” indicates that scholarships may not be fully funded to meet Floridians’ requests and/or may not be renewed from year to year.
PROTECTING OUR FUTURE
We are committed to partnering with our families to classically educate and train students to love God and serve Him in all they do. In light of this partnership, we are also committed to carefully studying the impacts of the changes to the Family Empowerment Scholarship and considering changes that may make CCA eligible to receive these funds.
There are two significant reasons to not rush into changing our school’s calendar to be able to accept funds from the Family Empowerment Scholarship.
1: LOSS OF FREEDOM
First and foremost, schools that accept government funding - even through money given directly to parents and then passed to schools - can be subjected to government-sanctioned curriculum and admittance requirements. Right now, the scholarship is open to private religious schools. However, this program has changed several times. We can not predict what changes will be made in the future.
Amy Davis, CCA’s founder and principal, explained, ”CCA leaders have concerns that our Christian, classical approach could be compromised if we were forced to accept standards that don’t align with our beliefs.”
2: LOSS OF INCOME
Just as this Bill passed to expand the number of families able to receive funds, a future Bill could be passed to limit the number of families able to receive funds. If CCA or our families became financially dependent on government funds and then the funds disappeared, CCA’s enrollment could drop and negatively impact the school’s ability to maintain our staff, facility, and educational resources. If this happened, families who depended on the state funds and suddenly had them revoked may have to scramble to find an alternative school option. We want value stability for our school and families.
KEEPING CCA AFFORDABLE FOR YOU
Classical Christian Academy strives to remain an affordable option for families. We work to keep tuition as low as possible and to use our income and funds wisely so we are able to help families prioritize private, Christian education. If you're considering CCA for your student and need help affording a private Christian education, please reach out to our admissions team for more information about our scholarship program.