For high school students, college or vocational school can be the next step toward achieving the future you desire. Continuing education takes money, but this doesn’t have to be a barrier to your success. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship has something to offer every student, with the goal of making sure you can afford higher education.
Accessing the funding you need should be simple. This post will cover all the information you need to understand and benefit from the FBFS program.
Preparing for college and not sure which test to take? Check out our post on choosing between the ACT and SAT.
How It Works
The Florida Bright Futures Scholar Program, funded by the state lottery, offers merit-based scholarships to qualifying Florida high-school graduates attending a post-secondary school in-state. The program was launched in 1997 and currently funds approximately one in five graduates in the state.
There are three different scholarship levels available depending on your academic performance in school and your academic goals after high school:
- Academic Scholars
- Medallion Scholars
- Gold Seal Vocational Scholars.
Receiving funds depends on acceptance into a post-secondary program. Each term of the school year includes a drop/add period, during which you can fine-tune your schedule, and drop or add courses as feels appropriate; this is usually during the first week of the term. After the drop/add period is over and your schedule is settled (and you know how many credit hours you are enrolled in for the term), funds are then dispersed through your school’s financial aid office.
How to Qualify for a Bright Futures Scholarship
All Bright Futures Scholar Program applicants must have a high school diploma, a GED, or have completed a home education program and be registered with your district home education office. There are three other primary aspects to the qualifications for each scholarship level:
- Standardized test scores
- Service hours
Each level’s qualifications are different, and each offers unique funding benefits, depending on your post-secondary education plan.
Academic and Medallion Scholars
Both the Academic and Medallion Scholars programs have course credit requirements. By the time of graduation, you will need to have completed the following classes throughout high school:
- 4 English
- 4 Math
- 3 Natural Science
- 3 Social Science
- 2 World Language.
These requirements line up with the state’s university admission requirements, meaning if you completed them in high school, you will have covered the basic requirements for admission to any public university in Florida.
To qualify at the highest level of the program as a Florida Academic Scholar (FAS), you will also need:
- 3.50 GPA
- 29 or higher ACT score
- 1330 or higher SAT score
- 100 hours of community service.
The SAT score requirement for the 2020-2021 academic year is up from 1290 (see chapter 1, page 3 of the handbook). The ACT score requirement has not changed. FAS covers 100% of tuition and applicable fees at eligible Florida schools, which can be found on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website.
To qualify as a Florida Medallion Scholar (FMS), you will also need:
- 3.00 GPA
- 25 or higher ACT score
- 1210 or higher SAT score
- 75 hours of community service
The SAT score requirement for the 2020-2021 academic year is up from 1170 (see chapter 1, page 3 of the handbook), while the ACT score requirement has actually gone down from 26. FMS awards students the equivalent of 75% of their tuition and fees at eligible Florida Schools.
Gold Seal Scholars
This program is actually two in one — Gold Seal Vocational (GSV) Scholars and Gold Seal CAPE (GSC) Scholars. Both require a minimum of 30 service hours to qualify.
GSV Scholars must also have:
- Weighted minimum 3.0 GPA in non-elective high school courses
- Unweighted minimum 3.5 GPA in career education courses
- Completed at least three full-credit courses in a single Career and Technical Education program
Finally, GSV Scholars must hit specific targets in your ACT, SAT, or PERT scores, as follows:
- ACT: Reading – 19, English – 17, Math – 19
- SAT: Reading Test – 24, Writing and Language Test – 25, Math Test – 24
- PERT: Reading – 106, Writing – 103, Mathematics – 114
GSC Scholars, on the other hand, are not required to submit test scores but must have earned a minimum of five college credit hours through qualifying CAPE industry certifications.
Awards in these categories offer fixed amounts based on the kind of post-secondary education you’re seeking and the institution where you enroll. These particular scholarships are only available for education at institutions offering an applied technology diploma, technical degree education program (associate in science or associate in applied science), or a career certificate program. Recipients of the Gold Seal CAPE scholarships who earn qualifying associate degrees may also be eligible to receive funding for a qualifying bachelor’s degree.
Service hours may be earned through a variety of avenues, including volunteer work with non-profit organizations, or an unpaid internship. It is important that you do not receive payment or compensation for this service, though school credit (such as an internship) is fine. Hours must also be approved by school administrators. For more information on what qualifies, see chapter 1, page 4 of the handbook.
Other Ways to Qualify: Merit Recognition
If you don’t meet the above requirements for FAS or FAM, you may still be eligible to apply via one of the Merit Recognition Programs. These must be completed before your high school graduation, so it’s important to plan ahead.
Qualifying programs include National Merit Finalists and Scholars, National Hispanic Scholars, an Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Diploma, or an International Baccalaureate(IB) Diploma. Students who have taken AICE or IB curriculum can also qualify based on course completion and standardized testing results. See “Other ways to qualify” under the Specific Requirements for Scholarship section in Chapter One of the Bright Futures Handbook.
Before you begin your planning, make sure that both your high school and the post-secondary institution you hope to attend are participating. This is simple to do through the Office of Student Financial Assistance site.
To check for high school availability, just follow the previous link.
For post-secondary institutions, follow the previous link, and use the drop down menu at the top of the page to select “Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.”
When you’re ready, you can create a student account and apply through the Office of Student Financial Assistance with a Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA).
You’ve Got This
College funding through the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program is attainable. With a bit of hard work and dedication, you can meet the requirements necessary for these awards. You can study and prepare for your courses and the SAT and ACT on your own, but if you need help, don’t be afraid to seek out assistance. Academic support and test prep tutoring can go a long way toward ensuring the dreams of your future.
If you need academic support, Livius offers personalized tutoring in a variety of academic subjects as well as ACT and SAT prep. To learn more, contact us at our Doral location today.