When you’re applying to colleges, one of the biggest things you’ll need to figure out is how you’re going to pay for it. If you live in Florida and plan to stay in-state to continue your education beyond high school, then the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program might be just what you’re looking for to help cover costs. Keep reading to learn more about what these programs are and how to find out if you qualify for their funding.

What are the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Programs?

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship programs are a group of three separate scholarships available to Florida residents planning to stay in-state while they earn their undergraduate degree or participate in vocational school training. And with the rising costs of attendance for post-high school education, every little bit helps when you’re looking for financial assistance. These scholarships do come with specific criteria for you to meet and I’m going to break everything down for you. But first, let’s talk about requirements.

What are the General Requirements for the Florida Bright Futures?

Although each individual Florida Bright Futures scholarship has its own specific requirements, there are some general ones you need to fulfill to be considered at all. For you to be considered for any of the Florida Bright Futures scholarships, you must:

  •    be a Florida resident and US citizen or eligible noncitizen, something determined by your college
  •    fill out the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by 8/31 the year you graduate from high school
  •    complete a standard Florida high school diploma or the equivalent from a registered Florida Department of Education private school or a Florida public high school
  •    either not have been convicted of or pleaded no contest to a felony charge
  •    been accepted by and enrolled in an eligible Florida public or independent postsecondary institution in a degree or certificate program
  •    be enrolled in at least 6 non-remedial credit hours per term

Sound like you? Then you’re on your way to earning your very own Florida Bright Futures scholarship! Now let’s talk about each individual scholarship and what they look for so you can figure out which one is right for you.

Specific Florida Bright Futures Requirements

We’ve covered the general requirements for these scholarships already and below, you will find the special requirements for each of the Florida Bright Futures scholarships available.

Florida Academic Scholars and Florida Merit Scholars

For you to be eligible for the Florida Academic Scholars or Florida Merit Scholars program, you have to meet all of these requirements below. I’m going to break down each area so you have a good understanding of what you need to do to earn this scholarship.

Coursework

You’ll need to take certain classes to meet this Florida Bright Scholars opportunity. Fortunately most of these overlap with the requirements your high school has for graduation so there’s not too much extra work involved. Check out this table below to see if you have all the classes required for this scholarship!

High School Course Credits Required Comments
English 4 Heavy writing in three of the courses
Mathematics 4 Must be at or above Algebra I
Natural Science 3 Substantial lab work in two of the courses
Social Science 3
World Language 2 Must be same language and sequential

If you have not taken the required classes for the World Language portion, you can still fulfill the requirement by testing out of a foreign language at the university level. The important thing is to demonstrate proficiency

GPA, Standardized Test Scores, and Services Hours

Besides taking the required amount of classes above, you’ll need to show academic excellence and a strong interest in your community. You demonstrate these things by meeting the minimum GPA, standardized testing scores, and community service hours listed in the table below.

SCHOLARSHIP WEIGHTED GPA MINIMUM ACT MINIMUM SAT MINIMUM SERVICE HOURS
FAS 3.50 29 1290 100 hours
FMS 3.00 26 1170 75 hours
FMS – Home schooled students without official transcripts 3.00 27 1220 75 hours

I would like to point out that you don’t need to submit scores for both the ACT and the SAT, just pick one and pursue it. The scores provided do not include the writing portion and the SAT score is on the new 1600 scale.

In order for your community service hours to qualify for these scholarships, they must be done by your high school graduation.

Gold Seal Vocational Scholars and Gold Seal CAPE Scholars

If you’re pursuing a technical or vocational school instead of a college or university, then the Florida Bright Futures scholarship program can help you too! The Gold Seal Vocational Scholars program is specifically for students entering into vocational or certificate degree programs after high school.

A new scholarship available this year is the Gold Seal CAPE Scholars program, which is available for students completing their associates in science and plan to transfer to a four year university or college to apply their associates to a bachelor’s of science.

The requirements for both Gold Seal programs are a little different from the Florida Academic Scholars and Florida Merit Scholars. For more information, read pages six and seven of this handbook. The requirements are very easy to fulfill and you don’t have to follow the traditional path of going straight to university in order to receive financial help!

As college costs rise, it’s such a relief to find financial opportunities like the Florida Bright Futures scholarships to help alleviate some of the burden. And now you have a few different options to pursue for assistance, no matter what you plan on doing in Florida after you graduate from high school.

What do you think of the Florida Bright Scholars program? Does this change your mind about going out of state for college? Let us know in the comments section below!