By PAUL SOOST
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Step Up For Students announced Oct. 12 a $2 million contribution to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program from Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc.
The $2 million donation will fund 305 K-12 scholarships for the 2017-18 school year so lower-income children can attend the school that best meets their learning needs. This is the first time that UPCIC has partnered with Step Up For Students, which is funded by corporations with tax-credited donations.
“We are grateful for corporate donors like Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company who are helping us provide Florida schoolchildren with an education that will serve not only themselves, but also positively impact our communities in the future,” said Joe Pfountz, chief financial officer of Step Up For Students. “Without our donors help, we would not be able to continue to grow the scholarship program.”
The donation was announced by Steve Donaghy, chief operating officer for UPCIC, at an event hosted by Abundant Life Christian Academy in Margate, Florida. Abundant Life Christian Academy is one of more than 1,700 schools that participate in the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program statewide.
Dan Marino, UPCIC spokesperson, National Football League hall of famer and former Miami Dolphins quarterback made a special appearance at Abundant Life Christian Academy and spoke to the schoolchildren.
“Having options and choice in where you go to school is important and I’m excited to see so many students here today who have access to the learning environment that best suits their individual needs,” said Marino. “We know that the education you receive will help propel you to do great things.”
Step Up For Students helps administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which allows recipients to choose between a scholarship that helps with private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to out-of-county public schools.
For the 2017-18 school year, Step Up For Students is serving more than 105,000 students throughout Florida with tuition scholarships valued at up to $6,343 per student for K through fifth grade, $6,631 for sixth through eighth grade and $6,920 for ninth through 12th grade. More than 1,700 private schools participate in the scholarship program statewide. In Broward County this school year, more than 150 schools participate in the program with more than 8,900 students benefiting.