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Florida Bright Futures Scholarship
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship helps students across the state with free money for college – if you are in Florida and you follow the eligibility requirements it can help you pay for college too!

The program is split up in to various awards, based on the student’s academic track, grades, and test scores.  Find the award you’re most likely to be eligible for, then be sure to complete all of the required classes.

Gold Seal Vocational Award

  • 75% of Public College/University Tuition
  • dollars per credit in a four year program – – 64 per credit for community colleges and vocational centers

Yes, you can get a scholarship to attend a Florida college even if you’re in a vocational program and you want to further that vocational training to a degree in the field or specialty – or heck, even if you want to do something completely different.

Grade Point Average: 3.0 weighted in 15.5 “core credits” and 3.5 in 3 credits of vocational classes

Standardized Test Scores: 440 in BOTH the Math and Critical Reading Sections of the SAT; OR ACT scores greater than or equal to a 17 in English, an 18 in Reading, and a 19 in Math.

GOLD SEAL CORE CLASS REQUIREMENTS:

  • 4 Credits of English
  • 3 Credits of math (including Algebra 1 or higher)
  • 3 Credits in Natural science
  • 3 Credits in Social science
  • 1 Credit in Performing art OR 1 Practical art or .5 in each
  • .5 credit Life Management Skills
  • .5 credit Personal Fitness
  • .5 credit Physical Education

Florida Medallion Scholars Award

  • 75% of Public College/University Tuition
  • Up to per credit for four year programs and per credit at a community college

This award is worth a little more if you’re going to a community college, but the payout is basically the same as the Vocational program scholarship. The major difference is the classes required to achieve eligibility: Students pursuing the Medallion version of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship will be required to take a foreign language AND two of their sciences with a lab component.

Grade Point Average: 3.0 weighted in 15 “core” credits

Standardized Test Scores: 970 or higher on the student’s best combination of the math and verbal sections of the SAT. You could get a 490 in each section, or a 500 in math and a 470 in verbal. Any combo works to secure eligibility. The listed ACT score is 20 (not including writing).

CORE CLASS REQUIREMENTS:

  • 4 Credits of English
  • 3 Credits of math (Algebra 1 and above – take Geometry, too!)
  • 3 Credits in Natural science (2 with substantial laboratory work)
  • 3 Credits in Social science
  • 2 Foreign Language (IN THE SAME LANGUAGE!)

This foreign language requirement is the one that gets people in trouble. Some people will take Spanish 1 and French 1 – but they will NOT qualify! You have to take two levels of the same language. One friend of mine did not qualify because the language they had taken in another country did not count. Another friend was disqualified for not taking a language. They WILL NOT let you get around this requirement. It is incredibly important and will ruin your eligibility for all four years of college if you do not complete it. Take your two languages, and take them early. It will help you on the English section of the SAT (really!) and you’ll probably be glad its out of the way.

Florida Academic Scholars Award

  • Up to 5 per credit for four year degree programs and per credit at public community colleges.

Grade Point Average: 3.5 weighted in 15 “core” credits

Standardized Test Scores: 1270 or higher on the student’s best combination of the math and verbal sections of the SAT. You could get a 640 in each section, or a 500 in math and a 770 in verbal. Any combo works to secure eligibility. The listed ACT score is 28 (not including writing).

CORE CLASS REQUIREMENTS:

  • 4 Credits of English
  • 3 Credits of math (Algebra 1 and above – take Geometry, too!)
  • 3 Credits in Natural science (2 with substantial laboratory work)
  • 3 Credits in Social science
  • 2 Foreign Language (IN THE SAME LANGUAGE!)

See the note in the above scholarship award regarding the language classes required for eligibility. I’ve known several people who got caught up on this requirement and missed out on a few thousand dollars because of a technicality.

Community Service for a Brighter Future

To be eligible for the big award, you need 100 hours of community service approved by the school district or the student’s private school. This is also not negotiable. Like the language, I recommend doing this early. Community service will give you great experience, a rewarding sense of accomplishment, and a chance to help out someone or someones in need. Oh yeah, don’t forget – it will help you qualify for and win even more scholarships, other than the Florida Bright Futures! Don’t put it off to the last minute because you’re “not sure” if you’ll make the other qualifications like SAT scores and grades. If you’ve invested in the 75 hours of community service, you’ll have more motivation to keep the grades up and study hard for the SATs and ACTs. Its worth 25% of your tuition – and that’s money that could be used to buy a car, a laptop, or it could even be the difference between needing small student loans or no loans at all.

Forget Luck – Plan Ahead

I was going to wish you good luck in your quest for a free college education but I decided that was silly because luck has nothing to do with it! The premise is simple. Florida will help to pay for your college tuition if you can use your high school years to prove that you’re willing to work hard and follow instructions. If you’re that type of person, society wants you to succeed – heck, we need you to succeed.

At a public university in Florida, 75% of tuition doesn’t seem like much (since the tuition is so low to begin with) but it is an incredible deal when you realize you only have to pay out about 00 for a full semester’s worth of classes and textbooks. Many semesters, I would pay more for my books than I did for the classes! That’s a deal – and the government is willing to give you that same deal if you can get decent grades and follow the correct course of study while you’re in high school.

Double Check Course Requirements

Grades and SATs aren’t everything – and two of my friends learned this the hard way. Their high school financial aid counselors weren’t up to date on the eligibility requirements and they ended up being disqualified on a technicality. Don’t let this happen to you! Since the criteria for selection is completely based on high school scores and classes, there is no way to appeal Florida state’s decision after you graduate high school. Maybe some day in the future, Florida will be ready to hear appeal cases and reconsider these decisions, but as long as budget constraints and low tax rates stay remain top voter priorities, our representatives in Tallahassee will be looking to save costs anywhere they can. Unfortunately, this means a lot of students won’t qualify for the scholarship due to technicalities like missing a certain credit, filing the forms late, or not getting the proper forms to where they’re supposed to be. Make sure you work with your guidance counselor, but don’t stop there: the ultimate responsibility is with the student.

These are the people who contribute major breakthroughs that advance society, these are the people who build businesses that employ others, and these are the people who love a challenge because they love the rewards of overcoming obstacles.

Never too early to start

Start before you’re even a freshman in high school. Sign up for language classes before you even see your new school. Study hard. Do your homework. Then, when you’re within one year of graduating, fill out the Florida Bright Futures application form at www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org. The only thing you will regret is if you let this great opportunity for free money pass you by.

Not Eligible? Not Enough Money for College?

If you’re not eligible or if the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship isn’t going to cover all of your costs in college, make sure to sign up for other scholarship search services like Fastweb and .  There are so many shcolarships and awards out there that you won’t ever know what is available for you to apply for unless you go out and look!





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