Florida Bright Futures Scholarship: What You Need to Apply & Win

Growing up in Florida has its perks. All college-bound Florida residents upon meeting certain eligibility requirements can receive a Bright Futures Scholarship. The scholarship amount varies based on students’ achievements and whether they hope to apply their winnings to a Florida public or private college. The Bright Futures Scholarship is an incredible opportunity: it can be applied to all Florida public and private colleges! For a full list of Florida schools that accept the award, see this list. To find out if you are eligible for a Bright Futures Scholarship and for instructions on how to apply and win, read on!

General Bright Futures Scholarship Requirements

To apply to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship, you must submit the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by the end of August after your high school graduation. However, it is best to apply by the end of your fall semester senior year. If you apply by then and use standardized test scores from tests taken before January 31st, you will receive your award notification by March.

General requirements to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship include:

  • Must be a Florida resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.

  • Must earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalent.

  • Must be accepted by and enrolled in a Florida public or private school.

  • Be enrolled for at least six credit hours per semester.

Financial need is not considered when awarding Bright Futures scholarships. It is entirely based on academic merit and achievement. Once you receive an award it is automatically renewed each year, so long as you maintain the required GPA and credit hours each semester.

Types of Bright Futures Awards 

There are two types of Bright Futures Scholarships that can be applied towards your Florida-based college degree: Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS).

The award amount varies depending on whether a student applies it to a Florida public or private college.

The Florida Academic Scholars award covers 100% of Florida public school tuition and applicable fees. Additionally, students will receive $300 each semester for educational expenses, such as books. Students receiving the FAS award are also eligible for an award during the summer session to cover tuition and applicable fees.

The Florida Medallion Scholars award covers 75% of Florida public school tuition and fees. Students receiving the FMS award are also eligible to receive an award during the summer session to cover tuition and fees.

For private schools, Bright Futures only covers a certain dollar amount of your tuition. The amount covered is determined based on the number of credit hours in which you are enrolled. The amount covered per credit hour also fluctuates depending on whether you are attending an academic institution that uses a semester system or a quarter system. Note that if you are a recipient of the FAS award, you will receive either a semesterly or quarterly stipend for college-related expenses.

To get an idea of how much your Bright Futures award may be at a given Florida private school, consult the tables below. Keep in mind that students completing a four-year degree typically complete 30 credit hours each academic year.

FAS: Private School Award for 2019-2020

SEMESTER BASED INSTITUTIONS

QUARTER BASED INSTITUTIONS

FMS: Private School Award for 2019-2020

SEMESTER BASED INSTITUTIONS

QUARTER BASED INSTITUTIONS

Bright Futures Award Requirements

Regardless of which award you qualify for, all eligibility requirements must be met before your high school graduation. There is one exception to this: ACT/SAT scores may be submitted from tests taken through June 30th.

To receive a Bright Futures award you must:

  • Possess a Florida high school diploma

  • Complete required high school coursework

    • Send in a copy of your high school transcript

  • Achieve the required minimum GPA

  • Achieve the required minimum score on either the ACT or SAT exams

    • Bright Futures uses students’ SAT superscores. Your best math section score and your best reading/writing section score will be added together.

    • Bright Futures uses students’ ACT composite score calculated from their best section scores across the four subject areas from any test sitting.

  • Complete the required number of service hours

    • The Bright Futures Student Handbook defines service hours as the following: “Service hours may include, but are not limited to, a business or governmental internship, work for a nonprofit community service organization, or activities on behalf of a candidate for public office.”

    • Your hours must be documented in writing, signed by yourself, your parent/guardian, as well as a rep of the organization through which you volunteered

    • You will be required to complete short reflection assignments explaining your service and why you chose a given area of service

The table below details course, GPA, standardized test score, and service hour requirements for both types of Bright Futures Scholarships: Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)

Students who complete the Florida Financial Aid Application by the end of their fall semester will receive their final Bright Futures scholarship decision in July. If you initially receive the FMS award in March, you have additional time to work towards fulfilling the eligibility requirements for the FAS award. You have until graduation to complete additional service hours and work on your GPA, and until the end of June to retake the SAT/ACT.

If you have completed the AICE curriculum, have an IB diploma, are a National Hispanic Scholar, or are a National Merit Finalist and Scholar, this may excuse you from one or more eligibility requirements. See the Bright Futures Student Handbook for further details.

Considerations Once You Win A Bright Futures Award

If you are awarded a Bright Futures Scholarship, the award will be applicable to all

Florida public and private schools. You will have originally listed a college to apply your award to when you filled out the FFAA. If the Florida school you intend to attend has since changed, you will need to update this online through your FFAA. The award will not be paid directly to you, but will be disbursed to your student financial aid account once you begin college.

The Bright Futures Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for Florida students. College is expensive and, without proper financial planning and assistance, it can feel out of reach. Do not limit how bright your future can be, start working towards winning your Bright Futures Scholarship today!

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