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New PLSA reimbursement system launches in early September

Byplsa-princess-header_faith_bar Lisa A. Davis

Summer has come to a close, and Step Up For Students looks forward to serving more students than ever this school year. An estimated 78,000 income-based scholars are expected to enroll in private schools throughout Florida and increased funding will allow us to award double the number of students we served last year with Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA).

“It’s exciting,” said Jeff Giese, Step Up’s director of operations.  “We’re gearing up for another busy year and, as always, we’re looking to fine-tune systems and processes we have in place as we go along.”

One of the biggest changes this year is the PLSA reimbursement system. Step Up took down the old system this month and will launch a new user-friendly system in early September.

“What we heard from parents throughout the first year of the PLSA was that our system was cumbersome and where claims were in the process wasn’t clear, so we’ve actually built an entirely new system,” said Elizabeth Watson, Step Up’s director of client services. “We are certain this system will serve PLSA families and providers well. It will allow parents and providers full visibility to all account activity and, because this system was built by our internal IT department, any system-related issues will be addressed immediately.”

Step Up recently emailed PLSA families to alert them of the changes.

“If you didn’t receive the email, please make sure we have your current email address,” Watson said. “It’s important to keep that updated with us because for the PLSA program and the income-based scholarship program, this is our primary method of communicating with our scholarship families.”

While the transition is in the works, PLSA families won’t be able to submit new reimbursement claims or access their accounts. In the meantime, Step Up employees are still processing reimbursement claims submitted before the 5 p.m., Aug. 17.  Once the new system is launched, parents and guardians can immediately submit any claims.

“Remember, you can still be reimbursed for any approved items that were purchased, or approved services rendered after July 1, 2014 as long as you still have funds in your account,” Watson said.

For a list of approved items and services and more instructions on submitting reimbursement requests, review Step Up’s 2015-16 Parent Handbook..

For more Information, email plsaclaims@sufs.org or call the Contact Center at 877-735-7837.

“We are committed to answering calls and emails promptly during this period of downtime,” Watson said. “When the new system is live, you’ll again have full access to any account data since the beginning of your participation with the PLSA program. We look forward to hearing your feedback on the new system.”

Welcome

Welcome to the Step Up For Students blog, “Stepping Beyond the Scholarship.” We’re excited to have you join us as we debut a new forum for our parents, teachers, students and advocates to connect with one another and share their personal experiences with the (income-based) Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs.

We hope to be informative, sharing news about Step Up For Students, our scholarship application periods, participating schools and services, among other topics. We also aim to intrigue you with profiles about our scholarship recipients and their families, our partner schools, our program donors and partners.

In addition, we’d like to help answer your questions and provide a network of support for you as you navigate your child’s educational path. Which private schools accept the scholarships in your community? What combinations of therapies have helped your child with special needs? Is there a homeschool curriculum that really brings results? In the months ahead, we will feature guest bloggers, including parents and educators. We’ll also publish various series, such as a behind- the-scenes look at all things Step Up. We invite you, our readers, to become active participants.

We look forward to growing our blog, and taking this adventure with you. Thank you for reading.

Your friends at Step Up.