The Bright Futures Scholarship is a scholarship program that rewards high school students for their academic achievements in the state of Florida.
It was created in 1997 and is funded by the Florida Lottery.
The Bright Futures Scholarship Program was inspired by Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship. Initially, the program disbursed more than 42,000 scholarships for roughly $70 million.
At its peak in 2008, the program provided scholarships to 39% of Florida high school graduates, including 94% of new freshmen and 70% of all University of Florida students.
Its main objective is to provide and award grants to students upon completion of the seventh semester in high school.
As of January 2022, the Bright Futures Scholarship program is categorized into four fully funded scholarships.
Each Bright Futures program, while it is very high-paying, has a strict set of requirements and it is very competitive.
Applications are available for high school seniors each year beginning December 1st on the online portal. Your eligibility is decided based on academic merit.
Although the qualifications for each Bright Futures program vary, they all have a few things in common.
These conditions must be satisfied in order for you to be eligible for any Bright Futures program.
Listed below are the basic requirements you need to meet before you can even consider to apply;
- Applicants must be a resident of Florida and a US Citizen or other qualifying non-citizen. As long as you are a resident of Florida, it doesn’t matter where your parents reside.
- Students must obtain a high school diploma from a Florida high school or an equivalent. This diploma is available from accredited public high schools as well as private high schools.
- Be registered for at least six credits each semester, or planning to do so.
- The Florida Financial Aid Application must have been submitted by August 31 of the graduating year.
- The Bright Futures Program requires interested individuals to enroll in a postsecondary program in the state of Florida.
- Not have been convicted of a felony.
Categories of Bright Futures Scholarship
If you meet all the aforementioned requirements, congratulations! Maybe you’re a candidate for a Bright Futures Fellowship.
The next stage will be to give an overview of each Bright Futures program. I will also give their specific eligibility requirements and the grant rewards.
Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)
The Florida Academic Scholars program covers the entire cost of a public degree program. This includes any applicable tuition charges.
Students who choose to enroll in a private institution will receive a comparable award that will not cover the entire tuition cost.
Winners are also eligible to receive $300 every semester for extra educational costs.
Scholars receive a grant award of an amount equal to 100% of tuition and applicable fees.
Activities and services fees, health costs, athletic fees, financial aid fees, capital improvement fees, transportation and campus access fees are the various fees that may be charged.
Each credit hour of the Florida Academic Scholars Award costs $212.28.
This is virtually the most competitive Bright Futures program and has the highest requirements.
Students applying for this category must meet the following criteria:
- Must hold a minimum 3.0 weighted GPA. Additionally, they must submit a minimum SAT score of 1210 and 25 on the ACT exam.
- They must also complete at least 75 service hours. However, exceptions were made in this policy due to the emergence of coronavirus.
There’s a handbook for the Bright Futures scholarship, which further outlines the requirements for all categories of the scholarship program.
Be informed that the credit requirements for high school students are not inhibitory to any Florida university applicant.
All applicants must meet this particular set of requirements to be considered for the scholarship.
Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)
This scholarship program grants successful applicants 75% of the tuition fees to study at a public institution.
Students, however, can choose to study in a private institution and will receive a comparable award, but it may not cover the entire cost.
This program is far less competitive than the FAS program. If you don’t qualify for the FAS scholarship program, you can apply for this one.
Florida Medallion Scholars will be given a scholarship that covers 75% of their summer, spring, and autumn tuition costs.
For every credit hour, scholars will receive a grant of $159.
Specific requirements include;
- FMS students must have a weighted GPA of at least 3.0.
- Additionally, they must have a minimum ACT score of 25 and SAT score of 1210.
- They must also complete at least 75 hours of community service.
Alternate ways to qualify for FAS and FMS Scholarships
Students may still qualify for the FAS or FMS even if they don’t satisfy the previously stated exam qualifications. The following awards are exempt from the testing requirements if you have obtained them:
- National Merit Finalist and Scholars
- National Hispanic Scholars
- Advanced International Certificate of Education
- International Baccalaureate Diploma
Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars
This Bright Futures Scholarship program provides a fixed payment per credit hour, which varies with the program of study.
The program is designed for students who have already received an Associate’s Degree and are seeking a Bachelor’s.
This program is less competitive than Florida Medallion Scholars and Florida Medallion Scholars. Its GPA and test score requirements are less strict.
- Earn a minimum of five postsecondary credit hours through Career and Professional Education (CAPE) industry certifications that count for college credit.
- Have completed 30 volunteer service hours.
- Students must be pursuing an applied technology diploma, an associate’s degree in applied science or science, or a career certificate.
- Upon completion of an eligible associate degree program, a GSC Scholar may also receive an additional award for a maximum of 60 credit hours toward an eligible bachelor’s degree.
Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars
The Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars program provides a fixed payment per credit hour, which varies with the program of study.
This program is designed for students who are pursuing a certificate or vocational degree.
It has lower GPA and test score requirements than Florida Academic Scholars and Florida Medallion Scholars.
Eligibility Requirements include;
- Minimum weighted GPA of 3.00 in non-elective courses.
- A minimum GPA average of 3.50 in at least three career education courses
- Applicants must score a minimum of 17 on their test scores in Math, English, and ACT Reading.
- SAT reading, writing, and math scores of 24, 25, and 24, respectively.
- 106, 103, and 114, respectively, were recorded as Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) Reading, Writing, and Math scores.
- Must have completed a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service.
- Candidates must apply to college institutions that offer diploma courses in technology, technical degree education programs, or a career certificate program.
How to Apply
The BFS program provides the Florida Academic Scholar award (FAS) and the Florida Medallion Scholar award (FMS) to eligible students who choose to attend Florida International University.
By filling out the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by the deadline of August 31 after high school graduation, students can apply for the scholarship.
High school students in Florida can meet with their school guidance counselors for more details on applying.
Renewal & Reinstatement
For students who received funding during the previous academic year, Renewal Eligibility is a procedure that happens automatically after the conclusion of the spring semester.
Renewal students are expected to complete all intended college curriculum, including transitory enrollment hours, and attain the requisite GPA.
If necessary to fulfill requirements, the student may ask to have dual enrollment courses taken while still enrolled in high school excluded from the GPA.
Students who met the requirements, but were not awarded a Bright Futures scholarship during the previous academic year may submit an application to have the grant restored.
A student may be qualified to apply for a one-time restoration if they do not fulfill the scholarship’s GPA standards, but only if the failure to renew happened at the conclusion of the student’s first year of the scholarship.
Repaying Bright Futures
The Florida Department of Education will charge you for the courses you withdraw from or drop after adding them to your schedule.
You will permanently lose your Bright Futures scholarship if the debt is not satisfied.
These hours are added back to your leftover hours for financing after repayment.
You may submit a written request to FSU for hours dropped or withdrawn beyond the final day of the drop/add period if you have a genuine sickness or emergency.
You may increase your chances of receiving a Bright Futures scholarship in a variety of ways. Working to achieve the highest possible exam results and GPA is a good place to start.
By choosing whether to concentrate on the SAT or the ACT, you can increase your exam scores. It’s crucial to select the appropriate teacher and decide when these assessments should be taken.
Additionally, you should be sure to submit the Florida Financial Aid Application by the deadline. Keep in mind that the deadline is August 31st of the year you graduate.
This date has not been altered to take COVID into consideration. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket, either.
Search for more scholarships and submit several applications! The more chances you apply for, the more likely it is that you will be accepted.