The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship are great funding options for Florida residents who want to stay in the state for college or vocational school and Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. All three awards are easily renewable, which means you could significantly cut your college expenses for several years for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.

You might think there’s some complicated paperwork involved in submitting the Florida Bright Futures scholarship application. As it turns out, much of the process is streamlined and automated – you actually don’t have to jump through too many hoops to apply. The eligibility requirements are a bit of a different story, but once you meet those, the application process should be pretty easy.

In this post, I’ll briefly explain about eligibility requirements before moving on to the application timeline. I’ll end with tips and strategies you can use to submit the best possible Bright Futures application. 

Bright Futures Scholarships Requirements 2019 for Eligibility

The first step in submitting a successful Bright Futures scholarship application is to make sure you’re actually eligible for the scholarship. This isn’t something you can do at the last minute – meeting eligibility requirements for these awards requires more long-term thinking about bright futures florida.

General Florida bright futures requirements 2019

Here are the general requirements that apply to all Bright Futures Scholarships:

  • You must be a Florida resident and US citizen or eligible non-citizen (this is determined by your college).
  • You must complete the Florida Financial Aid Application by 8/31 of the year of your high school graduation.
  • You must earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalent from a Florida public high school or a registered Florida Department of Education private school.
  • You can’t have been convicted of (or pleaded no contest to) a felony charge.
  • You must be accepted by and enroll in a degree or certificate program at an eligible Florida public or independent postsecondary institution (postsecondary = college, vocational, or professional program).
  • You must be enrolled for at least 6 (non-remedial) credit hours per term.

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship

Specific Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Requirements

There are different bright futures scholarship requirements 2019 minimum GPA, ACT/SAT, and service hour requirements for the three bright future scholarship. The most competitive scholarship is the Florida Academic Scholars Program (FAS), followed by the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS), and then the Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV).

These chart bright futures changes 2019 outlines some of the most important requirements for the FAS and FMS programs:

SCHOLARSHIP WEIGHTED GPA MINIMUM ACT MINIMUM SAT MINIMUM* SERVICE HOURS
FAS 3.50 29 1290 100 hours
FMS 3.00 26 1170 75 hours
FMS – Homeschooled students without official transcripts 3.00 27 1220 75 hours

*The SAT minimums are for the Critical Reading and Math sections only (on the pre-March 2019 SAT) or for your whole new SAT score (if you took the SAT March 2019 or later), both have a maximum score of 1600. Also, you don’t have to take both the SAT and ACT – one will do!

The GSV program is a bit different when it comes to eligibility requirements. The minimum GPA required to qualify for the GSV program is 3.0, weighted, in non-elective courses. The service hours minimum requirement is 30.

GSV test score requirements are a bit more detailed (note that you only have to take one of the following exams, but you can’t mix and match subsections from different tests):

Exam Subsection Score minimum
ACT English 17
Reading 19
Math 19
SAT Reading 440
Math 440
P.E.R.T. Reading 106
Writing 103
Math 114

There’s some more fine print when it comes to eligibility requirements for the Florida Bright Futures scholarships. To get more detailed information on meeting all of these requirements, check out our Bright Futures guide.

4 Steps to Applying for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship

The steps to completing this application will probably be easier to conquer than the ones on this staircase. 

Much of this process is automated – you won’t have to do much extra work outside of submitting the Florida Financial Aid Application and keeping an eye on your app to make sure everything is processed correctly.

If all of your eligibility requirements check out, you can start the application as early as December 1.

Step 1: Submit the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA)

The FFAA opens December 1 each year. Your Florida Bright Futures account login information will be sent to you after you submit the FFAA. Just remember that you must submit your FFAA by August 31 of the year that you graduate from high school, or you won’t be eligible for a scholarship award.

Step 2: Take the ACT or SAT and Submit Your Scores

The good news is that you’ll have to take either the ACT or SAT for college applications anyway. Send your scores to any Florida public college or university to ensure that the Florida Department of Education – the institution that reviews Bright Futures applications – receives them.

Step 3: Submit Your Official High School Transcripts

More good news: many schools will submit your transcripts automatically for consideration. Still, it’s a good idea to check in with your guidance counselor about whether you need to take any additional steps.

Step 4: Keep the Information in Your Account Updated

There are a bunch of things you can (and should) manage once you get your Bright Futures account information:

  • Monitor your reported service hours.
  • Update your postsecondary institution: once you’ve been accepted to/enrolled at a FL college or vocational school, you would make a note of this in your account.
  • Update any demographic information.
  • View your eligibility determination: check your account once everything’s been submitted to see if you’re eligible for the scholarship.

Application Timelines

There are two Bright Futures timelines to be aware of if you’re ready to start the application process: Early Evaluation and Final Evaluation.

If you can plan for the Early Evaluation timeline, you could potentially learn about Bright Futures eligibility as early as March. 

Early Evaluation

If your transcripts are submitted for early evaluation (based on academic progress in the middle of the last year of high school and test scores for tests taken by January 31), you’ll get an eligibility notification posted to your online account. These postings may begin in March, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Final Evaluation

All students whose final transcripts are submitted following the last high school term will get an eligibility notification posted to their online account. These postings may begin in July, again according to the Florida Department of Education.

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

Now that you know a little bit more about eligibility requirements and the application process, you can focus on making your Bright Futures application the best it can be.

The good news: aside from making sure you meet all eligibility requirements, there isn’t much you have to do to make your application “stand out.” If you meet the requirements for the FAS, FMS, or GSV scholarship, you’ll receive the scholarship – it’s as simple as that.

The bad news: the eligibility requirements are strict. There’s no gray area – you either qualify because you meet all requirements, or you don’t (no matter how close you are) and don’t get a scholarship. There are some eligibility loopholes and exceptions for out-of-state, homeschooled, and GED students – learn more about them in our requirements guide.

The best Bright Futures success strategy will focus on meeting eligibility requirements as early in your high school career as possible. The following tips will help you do that, starting right now.

Coursework

All Bright Futures scholarships require students to complete a certain set of high school courses. You’re likely to meet all coursework requirements if you went to high school in Florida. If you suspect there may be a problem, schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor.

This chart outlines coursework requirements for both the FAS and FMS scholarships: 

High School Course Credits Required Comments
English 4 Three must include substantial writing
Mathematics 4 Must be at or above Algebra I level
Natural Science 3 Two must have substantial lab work
Social Science 3
World Language* 2 Must be sequential, and in the same language

* A note about the World Language requirements: if you haven’t taken the necessary courses, you can meet this requirement by demonstrating proficiency on credit-by-exam equivalencies or other “university-approved” means. What this means is if you can test out of your language in college, you’ll probably also meet this language requirement even if you didn’t take two sequential language courses in high school.

GPA, ACT/SAT, and Service Hours 

It’s difficult to significantly raise your GPA in a short period of time. Focus on your grades by picking a realistic GPA minimum starting your freshman year. If you’re struggling to meet your goal, here are some ways to bring up that GPA:

  • Take classes that are appropriate for your skill level. If you’re unsure about which classes are most appropriate, meet with your guidance counselor to discuss.
  • See teachers for extra help in weak subject areas.
  • Ask about extra credit assignments if possible.
  • Check out our guide on raising your GPA.
SCHOLARSHIP WEIGHTED GPA MINIMUM ACT MINIMUM SAT MINIMUM SERVICE HOURS
FAS 3.50 29 1290 100 hours
FMS 3.00 26 1170 75 hours
FMS – Homeschooled students without official transcripts 3.00 27 1220 75 hours

A few important notes:

  • You’ll only need to submit scores from one standardized test – you don’t need to meet score requirements for both the SAT and the ACT
  • The SAT/ACT minimums do not include the writing section.
  • All service hours must be completed by your high school graduation in order to count for the award.

Other Ways to Qualify for the FAS or FMS Programs 

If you’ve received academic recognition through some other program, you may be eligible for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship programs even if you don’t meet a few requirements.

This chart outlines the eligibility requirements for scholars who have been recognized by any of the programs listed below. If a box is blank, that means that you would be exempt from that particular requirement bright futures handbook.  

Program Florida Scholarship ACT/SAT Score Minimums Service Hours Minimums
National Merit/National Achievement Finalists and Scholars FAS 100 hours
NM/NA Finalists & Scholars FMS 75 hours
National Hispanic Scholars FAS 100 hours
National Hispanic Scholars FMS 75 hours
AICE Diploma FAS 100 hours
AICE Diploma FMS 75 hours
IB Diploma FAS
AICE Curriculum FAS 29 or 1290 100 hours
AICE Curriculum FMS 26 or 1170 75 hours
IB Curriculum FAS 29 or 1290
IB Curriculum FMS 26 or 1170

If you have an IB diploma, you’re in luck – that diploma is the only way to qualify for the FAS program without an ACT/SAT minimum or service hour minimum.

How much does bright futures pay?

Bright Futures award amounts for the 2019 academic year: The Florida Academic Scholars Award is $212.71 per credit hour. The Florida Medallion Scholars Award is $159.53 per credit hour. The Academic Top Scholars Award is$44 per credit hour.

Community Service

The earlier you start reporting your community service hours, the fewer hours per week you’ll need to volunteer. If you start chipping away at this requirement as a senior, you’ll have to set aside 2-3 hours a week for community service; if you start as a freshman; however, you’ll only need to volunteer 1-1.5 hours every two weeks.

You can’t earn any money for your community service hours, but you can kill two birds with one stone and look for positions where you can get interesting professional experience. Start by asking friends and family for suggestions – make sure you’re working with a legitimate agency who will reliably track your hours.

Finally, set a schedule. Go at the same time every week or every two weeks so you don’t fall behind on completing your hours. If you need some help brainstorming, check out our guide to the best places to do community service.

is bright futures scholarship taxable?

In general, the IRS considers scholarships to be taxable income if the student is not enrolled in a degree program. If you enroll in courses but are not on track to earn a degree, then a Bright Futures scholarship, and any other form of scholarship or grant, becomes taxable income.

is bright futures scholarship need-based?

Bright Futures Scholarship Program. State-funded scholarships are awarded to Florida high school graduates based on high school academic achievement. Students must enroll in an eligible Florida public or private post-secondary educational institution

what does bright futures scholarship cover?

Bright Futures award amounts for the 2018-19 academic year: The Florida Academic Scholars Award is $212.71 per credit hour. The Florida MedallionScholars Award is $159.53 per credit hour. The Academic Top Scholars Award is $44 per credit hour.

can florida bright futures scholarship be used out of state?

The Bright Futures program offers merit-based scholarships to Florida residents who stay in Florida for college or vocational school (unfortunately, you won’t be eligible for an award if you attend college out of state)

what is bright futures scholarship?

Bright Futures is the name of a scholarship program in the state of Florida. It is funded by the Florida Lottery and was first started in 1997.

can bright futures scholarship be used for room and board?

The new award is the amount of tuition plus $600 for books. You can use the money for r&b if you have other funds for tuition, but the amount of BF is for tuition (~$6500) plus that book allowance. Most Florida public schools allow the BF funds to be used for anything or refunded to the student if the billed costs are covered a different way (pre-paid, a scholarship, athletics, or the costs just isn’t that high). Private schools can set their own rules (my daughter’s doesn’t refund it, but does allow it to be used for any billed amount).

is bright futures scholarship considered federal student aid?

Students are no longer required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before awarding or disbursing the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.

when is the bright futures deadline 2019?

Students must APPLY for the scholarship by submitting the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) no later than August 31 after high school graduation. If a student does not apply for the scholarship by the deadline, a student cannot receive the scholarship!

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship

can you lose Florida bright futures scholarship?

Bright futures requirements to keep scholarship, Students who lose their Bright Futures scholarship may be eligible for a ONE-TIME ONLY scholarship restoration of their award,

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