PESS Stipends

PESS stipends are in the monthly amount of $1,720. Payments are not made to the student; instead, Embrace Families makes all housing and utility payments for the student. Any remaining funds are disbursed to the student to assist with additional living expenses. This arrangement continues until the student demonstrates that she or he has acquired the skill necessary to responsibly manage housing and utility payments.

Students receiving the PESS post-secondary educational stipend may also be in extended foster care. The method of the payment depends upon whether the young adult is residing in a foster home or group home, or is temporarily residing away from the home.

The following qualify for this program:

Young adults who turned 18 while residing in licensed care and who have spent a total of six months in licensed out-of-home care.


Young adults who were adopted after the age of 16 from foster care, or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian, after spending at least six months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately preceding such placement or adoption.


Have earned a standard high school diploma, or its equivalent.


Are enrolled in at least nine (9) credit hours and attending a Florida Bright Futures eligible educational institution. If the young adult has a documented disability or is faced with another challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time attendance and the educational institution approves, the young adult may attend fewer than nine credit hours.

The law limits PESS to Florida Bright Futures eligible schools. However, there is another, more limited, financial support program available to young adults who wish to attend a post-secondary school that is not a Bright Futures school, e.g., an out-of-state school. An annual federal Educational Training Voucher (ETV) educational stipend payment of up to $6,250 may be available, provided the chosen academic institution meets ETV eligibility requirements. ETV may also be available for young adults attending a post-secondary institution only part-time.