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How to Apply for Bright Futures Scholarship 2024

Bright Futures Scholarship

Are you a Florida resident who wants to pursue higher education in the state? If so, you may be eligible for the Bright Futures Scholarship, a merit-based program that can help you pay for college. The Bright Futures Scholarship is funded by the Florida Lottery and administered by the Florida Department of Education. It offers four different types of awards, each with its own requirements and benefits. In this article, we will explain what the Bright Futures Scholarship is, how to qualify for it, how to apply for it, and answer some frequently asked questions.

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What is the Bright Futures Scholarship?

The Bright Futures Scholarship is a program that rewards Florida high school students for their academic achievements. It covers a percentage of tuition and fees at eligible Florida postsecondary institutions, such as public universities, colleges, and technical schools. The amount of the award depends on the type of scholarship, the level of education, and the number of credit hours enrolled. The Bright Futures Scholarship also provides additional funding for certain majors, programs, and courses.

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Types of Bright Futures Scholarship

The Bright Futures Scholarship offers four types of awards: Florida Academic Scholars (FAS), Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS), Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC), and Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV). Each award has different eligibility criteria, an application process, and funding options. Here is a brief overview of each award:

  • Florida Academic Scholars (FAS): This is the highest level of the Bright Futures Scholarship. It is awarded to students who have a weighted GPA of 3.50 or higher, complete 100 service hours or 100 paid work hours, take 16 required high school courses, and achieve a minimum ACT or SAT score by June 30th of their graduation year. The FAS award covers 100% of tuition and fees, plus a $300 allowance per semester for textbooks and college-related expenses.
  • Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS): This is the second-highest level of the Bright Futures Scholarship. It is awarded to students who have a weighted GPA of 3.00 or higher, complete 75 service hours or 100 paid work hours, take 16 required high school courses, and achieve a minimum ACT or SAT score by June 30th of their graduation year. The FMS award covers 75% of tuition and fees at public institutions and a comparable amount at private institutions.
  • Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC): This is a new award that was introduced in 2024. It is awarded to students who complete five Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and earn a minimum of five CAPE postsecondary credit hours. There is no GPA or test score requirement for this award. The GSC award covers 100% of tuition and fees for an applied technology diploma, a technical degree education program, or a career certificate program.
  • Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV): This is an award that is designed for students who want to pursue vocational or technical education. It is awarded to students who have a weighted GPA of 3.00 or higher in non-elective courses, an unweighted GPA of 3.50 or higher in career education courses, complete three full credits in a single CTE program, complete 30 service hours or 100 paid work hours, and achieve a minimum ACT, SAT, or P.E.R.T. score by June 30th of their graduation year. The GSV award covers 100% of tuition and fees for an applied technology diploma, a technical degree education program, or a career certificate program.

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Eligibility Criteria for Bright Futures Scholarship

To be eligible for any of the Bright Futures Scholarship awards, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Florida resident and a US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalent from a Florida public high school or a registered Florida private high school
  • Be enrolled or enrolling for at least six credit hours per term in an eligible Florida postsecondary institution
  • Complete the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by August 31st of your graduation year
  • Not have not been convicted of a felony

In addition to these general criteria, you must also meet the specific requirements for each award, as described in the previous section.

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How to Apply for Bright Futures Scholarship

To apply for the Bright Futures Scholarship, you need to follow these steps:

  • Check your eligibility for the Bright Futures Scholarship by using the eligibility evaluation tool on the official website.
  • Create a student account on the Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Programs website and complete the FFAA online. You can do this anytime during your last year of high school, but it is recommended that you do it as early as possible.
  • Submit your official high school transcript and test scores to the Florida Department of Education. Your high school counselor can help you with this process.
  • Receive an official award notification from the Florida Department of Education after your final transcript and test scores are evaluated. This will indicate the type and amount of the Bright Futures Scholarship that you are eligible for.
  • Accept your award and enroll in an eligible Florida postsecondary institution. You must enroll for at least six credit hours per term and maintain satisfactory academic progress to keep your award.

FAQs about Bright Futures Scholarship

Here are some common questions and answers about the Bright Futures Scholarship:

How long does the Bright Futures Scholarship last?

The Bright Futures Scholarship can be renewed for up to five years or until you complete your degree or certificate program, whichever comes first. You must meet the renewal requirements each year, which include maintaining a minimum GPA and earning a certain number of credit hours.

Can I use the Bright Futures Scholarship for out-of-state or online schools?

No, the Bright Futures Scholarship can only be used for eligible Florida postsecondary institutions. However, you can use the scholarship for transient enrollment, which means taking courses at another Florida institution while enrolled at your home institution. You can also use the scholarship for study abroad programs, as long as they are approved by your home institution and count toward your degree or certificate.

Can I use the Bright Futures Scholarship for graduate school?

Yes, you can use the Bright Futures Scholarship for graduate school, as long as you meet the eligibility and renewal requirements. The amount of the award will be based on the undergraduate tuition and fee rate.

What happens if I lose my Bright Futures Scholarship?

If you lose your Bright Futures Scholarship due to a low GPA, insufficient credit hours, or other reasons, you may be able to restore it by meeting the reinstatement requirements. You can apply for reinstatement once per award level, and you must do so within two years of the term that you lost your award.

Conclusion

The Bright Futures Scholarship is a great opportunity for Florida students who want to pursue higher education in the state. It rewards academic excellence and provides financial assistance for tuition and fees. To qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship, you need to meet the eligibility criteria, apply online, and enroll in an eligible Florida postsecondary institution. If you have any questions or concerns about the Bright Futures Scholarship, you can contact the Florida Department of Education or visit the official website for more information.

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