Many of our Florida families and House of Music Therapy clients have expressed their interest in recent weeks about the latest news. Back in January, we learned about the potential expansion of The Family Empowerment Scholarship thanks to a new proposed bill. Otherwise known as “HB1,” the “School Choice” bill acknowledges an increased need and demand for access to some educational resources for Florida families.
We’re hopeful - and optimistic - that the passing of this bill, will expand access to music therapy. HB1 has succeeded among the House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee with a 13-4 vote.
A Closer Look: Scholarship Programs Under HB1
Currently, the state of Florida distributes vouchers that can be used through three specific scholarship programs, including the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES-EO) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES-UA) for students with unique abilities (Source: WFSU).
Eligible families are then able to leverage these vouchers to cover tuition, therapy, or program costs up to about $7,400 each year. Should HB1 go into effect, the FES-EO scholarship would then be eligible for every K-12 public school student in Florida. Many expect the bill to pass the legislature, eventually ending up on the desk of Florida’s governor.
The Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities
Having helped many students receive funding for various programs and educational opportunities, The House of Music Therapy team has seen firsthand the impact that these funds can have on students. FES-UA can be used for a variety of eligible expenses, including therapy - we talk more about the scholarship here. By leveraging these funds to enroll in individualized music therapy services, students can work through everyday challenges, improve skills, and build confidence.
“Students will find that this particular scholarship can offer an extra benefit when it comes to music therapy because it gives you the ability to roll over your funds from year to year. While some scholarships require that you use them in full, students can maintain these funds in order to continue to support their music therapy sessions for years to come (source).”
Eligible For FES-UA?
If you’re currently eligible, or believe that you’ll become eligible, it’s a great time to brush up on requirements, deadlines, and terms that well help you maintain eligibility and make the most of your scholarship. For example, current recipients should qualify for support from the ages of 3 through 12th grade, but can continue to receive additional support through age 22. By pursuing the scholarship for as long as possible, students can increase their chances of receiving the most benefits to put towards programs.
Leveraging FES-UA For Music Therapy
We do our best to make it easy for FES-UA eligible families to leverage their scholarship funds towards music therapy for their child. And since many of our clients have chosen to spend their funds on music therapy, we’re familiar with the process of billing directly to the scholarship.
We’ve seen eligible families thrive thanks to their access to music therapy and other programs through the Family Empowerment Scholarship. And since it was designed to support children and young adults gain individualized tools to navigate life's challenges, we love that we’re able to do exactly that through our extensive music therapy programs.
Music therapy continues to help our clients to feel more comfortable in their surroundings, to build confidence, and regulate their emotions in a healthy way. But beyond being enjoyable for our students, we see huge strides in areas that help them thrive. Our students can attest to improved ability to focus, reduced anxiety and stress, confidence to try new things, processing through trauma, and more.
If you ask the House Of Music Therapy team, they’ll tell you that music therapy takes a traditional wellness plan and supercharges it. By creating a plan that allows our students to feel in control of their wellness and progress, we’ve been able to surround students with an enjoyable place to learn, grow, and thrive. And since the mental challenge of committing to focusing on your own wellness is often difficult, we take the stress and friction out of the equation by showing up as the place our students genuinely want to go to.
Who Can Benefit?
We believe that everybody can benefit from music therapy! But more specifically, we support a wide variety of age groups, developmental stages, and areas of focus to help our community members reach their fullest potential.
Many of our students desire to focus on enhancing social, communicative, emotional, motor/sensory, or general academic skills through music therapy. Autism, Down’s syndrome, ADHD, and OCD can present need for support throughout everyday life that music therapy can provide, reducing anxiety at home or on-the-go.
For those with psychosocial, affective, cognitive, or communicative needs, music therapy can be a great way to support mental health concerns by using music interaction as a means of communication and expression.
Addiction & Substance Use
For some of our clients, their focus is on self confidence, self soothing, and minimizing the impact of addiction on their lives. By creating a safe space to manage anxiety, anger, and fear, music therapy can help these patients effectively manage their recovery alongside other treatments.
Not limited to children or neurodivergent minds, music therapy can benefit everyone. By providing a structured musical foundation at all development levels, music therapy is a great way to minimize stress and increase confidence for all. It’s enjoyable, it’s engaging, and it’s fun!
Learn More About House of Music Therapy
Serving Lee, Collier, Sarasota, Orange, and De Soto counties, House of Music Therapy continues to expand our reach to support Florida families. You can learn more about what we do, our rates, the scholarships and plans we work with, our programs and services, and everything else by visiting our site.