Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

Florida Bright Futures can significantly decrease the debt a college student acquires. (Photo by Richard Weiss on flickr.com)

Florida Bright Futures can significantly decrease the debt a college student acquires. (Photo by Richard Weiss on flickr.com)

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program was first established in 1997. The purpose of the program is to honor Florida high school seniors with significant academic achievements and dedication to the local community; through the Florida Lottery, students are provided the opportunity to pursue a college degree.

Currently, Bright Futures, is divided into three distinct types of award, each with fixed amount to be awarded.

Florida Academic Scholars

The Florida Academic Scholars Bright Futures Scholarship is awarded to students who meet the following requirements:

  • 3.50 weighted GPA
  • 16 College Preparatory Academic Credits
    • 4 English (3 with substantial writing)
    • 4 Mathematics (Algebra I level and above)
    • 3 Natural Science (2 with substantial lab)
    • 3 Social Science
    • 2 World Language (sequential, in the same language)
  • 100 hours of district-approved community service
  • Combined score of 1280 on the SAT or 28 on the ACT

Florida Medallion Scholars

For students who do not meet the requirements to be awarded the Florida Academic Scholars level of the Bright Futures Scholarship, the Florida Medallion Scholars category may be a more suitable option. The Florida Medallion Scholars Bright Futures Scholarship is awarded to students who meet the following requirements:

  • 3.00 weighted GPA
  • 16 College Preparatory Academic Credits
    • 4 English (3 with substantial writing)
    • 4 Mathematics (Algebra I level and above)
    • 3 Natural Science (2 with substantial lab)
    • 3 Social Science
    • 2 World Language (sequential, in the same language)
  • 75 hours of district-approved community service
  • Combined score of 1020 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT

Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award

A third category was created to assist students who may not have studied Foreign Languages in-depth or had the time to commit to so many hours of community services while in high school. The Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award is available to those who meet the following requirements:

  • 3.00 weighted GPA
  • 16 College Preparatory Academic Credits
    • 4 English
    • 4 Mathematics (including Algebra I)
    • 3 Natural Science (2 with lab component)
    • 3 Social Science (US History, World History, US Government and Economics)
    • 1 Fine or Practical Art
    • 1 Physical Education
  • 30 hours of district-approved community service
  • 440 on each section of the SAT or the following scores on the ACT
    • 17 English
    • 18 Reading
    • 19 Math

Additional Eligibility Requirements

In addition to meeting the above-mentioned requirements, students must completed the Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) during their last year of high school and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.

Award Amounts

Award amounts vary based on which category a student is eligible for and what year he/she graduated from high school. A complete list of up-to-date amounts can be found here.

The Fine Print…

Unfortunately, students planning on attending a college or university outside of Florida will not be able to use their Bright Futures Scholarship as it only applies to public institutions in the State of Florida. Additionally, students can only use the Scholarship while pursuing undergraduate coursework and must meet GPA and credit-load requirements while enrolled to maintain their scholarship.

Each option offers a variety of other ways to qualify for Bright Futures, taking into consideration those who may be home-schooled, have passed the GED, or graduated from high school before the 2012-2013 school year. Additional information can be found on the Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Programs’ website.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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