Winning the lottery to pay for college is unlikely. But winning a scholarship funded by lottery ticket sales is 100% possible thanks to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which is available to all Florida residents!


The program includes four unique scholarship types that Florida residents can apply for and win, covering up to 100% of tuition and fees at Florida colleges and universities.


And in this post, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make one of those scholarships yours! That’s why we’re going to look at:


  • How much Bright Futures scholarships are worth

  • The eligibility requirements for each of the scholarships

  • A few exceptions to the eligibility requirements

  • How to apply for Bright Futures scholarships

  • The application timeline, including the open date and deadline

  • 3 tips to increase your chances of winning a Bright Futures scholarship


But before we dive into those topics, let’s start with a quick overview of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program!


What is the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program?


The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program started in 1997 as part of



an initiative



to retain talented, high achieving students in the state of Florida. As we mentioned before, it’s funded by ticket sales for the Florida Lottery.


To date, the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program has helped more than 725,000 Florida students attend a postsecondary institution!


The Bright Futures scholarship awards include:


  1. Florida Academic Scholars Award (FAS) – For students with an A average (3.5+ GPA)

  2. Florida Medallion Scholars Award (FMS) – For  students with a B average (3.0+ GPA)

  3. Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award (GSV) – For students pursuing a technical degree or certificate program (to be explained in a moment)

  4. Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars Award (GSC) – For students pursuing a technical degree or certificate program before transitioning to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science degree program


How are these 4 Bright Futures scholarship awards different from one another? Well, for starters, they’re not all worth the same amount. And some can only be used to fund specific degree programs. Let’s take a look now at each so you can see what we mean!


How are the Bright Futures Scholarships Different? How Much is Each Award Worth?


Here’s a quick overview of what each of the Bright Futures scholarships has to offer. You’ll see that not all of them will apply to your postsecondary study plans. But all of them are quite generous!


Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)


Are you a student with a 3.5 GPA or above and top scores on the SAT/ACT (29/1330+)?


Then the



Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)



could be for you.


It’s the most competitive of the Bright Futures scholarships. And it covers


100% of tuition and applicable fees and $300 for both fall and spring semesters


for additional educational expenses at public colleges or a comparable amount at non-public colleges. As a FAS award recipient, you could also apply to receive an award that covers tuition and fees for summer sessions.


Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)


If you’re a good student, but don’t quite have the grades and test scores required for the FAS award, look into the



Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)



award. This is the second most competitive of the Bright Futures scholarships and goes to


students who have at least a 3.0 GPA and good test scores on the SAT/ACT (25/1210+)


.


It covers


75% of tuition and applicable fees


at public colleges. Similar to the FAS award, you’d receive a comparable amount if attending a non-public college. You can also receive an award for summer sessions to cover tuition and applicable fees.


Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) and Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)


For both the FAS and FMS award, you can choose to study whatever you’d like. But


if you’re interested in technical degree programs (e.g. an associate’s degree to become a Registered Medical Technician, Veterinary Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, etc.),


check out the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) and Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC).


They offer less scholarship funding but are also less competitive than the FAS and FMS awards


.


Both the GSV and GSC awards cover


up to 72 credit hours


for the following degree programs offered by community colleges:


Either award can also cover


up to 60 credit hours


of an



Applied Technology Diploma (ATD)



.


(If you’re not sure what subjects you can study under those programs, don’t worry! Click the links above to see what’s offered at the College of Central Florida and Florida Gateway College as examples.)


The



Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV)



is


for you


if you’re planning to enroll in a technical career education (AS or AAS) or certificate program (CCC or PSAV).


The



Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)



award is for you


if you are pursuing an associate’s degree (AS or AAS) through a Florida



Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE)



industry certification program.


As a GSC scholar, once you get the associate’s degree, you may also receive an additional award for a maximum of 60 credit hours toward a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science degree.


How long do Bright Futures scholarships last? Are they renewable?


Bright Futures scholarships renew


automatically each year for up to 5 years! That means you don’t need to submit any more applications after the first one as long as you achieve and maintain the required GPA and required credit hours.



If needed, winners of the FAS and FMS awards can also apply to extend the award past 5 years to finish a degree program that requires more than 120 hours.


Bright Futures Scholarship Program Eligibility Requirements


So, by now you know that Bright Futures scholarships are only for students who are Florida residents. But beyond that, what are the other requirements?


Well, to be honest, there are quite a lot. There’s even a



whole chapter



of the Bright Futures Student Handbook dedicated just to the eligibility requirements!


But that’s mostly because the requirements differ depending on which of the scholarship awards you hope to win. And that’s good news. Because it means you don’t need to focus on all of the requirements — just the ones that apply to you.


Plus, it’s likely you’ll only need to care about the eligibility requirements of one of these two sets:


1) The Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)


2) The Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) and Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)


You’ll see why we say that soon. But before we get into that, there are general eligibility requirements that apply to all four of the Bright Futures scholarships. So, let’s start there!


General Requirements for ALL Bright Futures Scholarships


To apply for


any


of the Bright Futures scholarships, you must:


  • Be a Florida resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, as determined by the student’s postsecondary institution.

  • Complete the



    Florida Financial Aid Application



    (FFAA) no later than August 31 after high school graduation.

  • Earn a standard Florida high school diploma, or its equivalent, from a Florida public high school or a registered Florida Department of Education (FDOE) private high school; or complete a home education program

  • Not have been found guilty of, or pled nolo contendere to, a felony charge, unless you have been granted clemency by the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Executive Office of Clemency.

  • Be accepted by, and enroll in a degree or certificate program at, an eligible Florida public or independent postsecondary institution.

  • Enroll in at least six non-remedial semester credit hours (or the equivalent in quarter or clock hours) per term.

  • If not funded in the academic year immediately following high school graduation, apply within five years of high school graduation to have your award reinstated.


Now that you know the general requirements, let’s get into the unique requirements for each of the Bright Futures scholarships.


Unique Requirements for the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and/or Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)


To qualify for the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award or the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award, you must:


  • Meet all the requirements listed in the prior general requirements section

  • Complete the required high school coursework (check the table below)

  • Achieve the required minimum high school grade point average (GPA) (check the table below)

  • Achieve the required minimum score on either the ACT® or SAT® college entrance exam (check the table below)

  • Complete the required number of service hours (check the table below)

Eligibility Requirements for Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)




Source


Other Ways to Qualify


If you have demonstrated academic merit through a recognition program, like the AICE curriculum or the IB curriculum, you may still be eligible to apply for the FAS and FMS Bright Futures scholarship awards.


Merit Recognition Programs that Qualify for Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) and Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) Eligibility




Source


AICE Curriculum


  • Complete a minimum of 14 AICE credits identified by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International) in the Diploma Core and three academic areas as follows:

    • AICE Diploma Core – AICE Global Perspectives & Research AS level (Two Credits required)

    • Group 1 – Mathematics and Sciences (Two Credits required)

    • Group 2 – Languages (Two Credits required)

    • Group 3 – Arts and Humanities (Two Credits required)

    • Group 4 – Interdisciplinary Skills (Optional – Four Credits maximum)

    • Six additional credits required in any combination from the above four groups

IB Curriculum


  • Complete a minimum of 10 credits identified by the International Baccalaureate Organization:


    • Two credits each in three of the following areas and one credit each in the remaining three areas: Language Arts, World Language, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics and Arts/Electives. Each of these credits must be an IB or AP course. Pre-IB courses do not meet IB curriculum requirements.

    • One credit in Theory of Knowledge

  • Complete the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement

  • Complete an extended essay


Unique Requirements for the Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV)


To qualify for the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) award, you must:


  • Meet all the requirements listed in the prior general requirements section

  • Achieve the required weighted minimum 3.0 GPA in non-elective high school courses

  • Take at least 3 full credits in a single Career and Technical Education program

  • Achieve the required minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA in the career education courses

  • Achieve the required minimum score on the ACT, SAT or Florida Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) exams (see table below)

  • Complete 30 service hours during high school and by high school graduation

Standardized Testing Eligibility Requirements for Gold Seals Vocational Scholars (GSV)



Source


Unique Requirements for the Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)


To qualify for the Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC) award, you must:


  • Meet all the requirements listed in the prior general requirements section

  • Earn a minimum of five postsecondary credit hours through



    CAPE industry certification



    courses that are taken for college credit

  • Complete 30 service hours by high school graduation


Exceptions to the Eligibility Requirements


There are also quite a few exceptions to the eligibility requirements mentioned above. Check to see if one of the following exceptions put you back in the pool of qualified candidates for the Florida Futures Scholarship Program.


Students Participating in a Home Education (HE) Program


If you’re participating in a HE program, you must be registered with the district for the current


and prior academic year. If you are not registered with the district home education office for the current and prior academic year but have the required transcripts and test scores, you may be able to apply as a Florida GED Diploma recipient.


To qualify as a Florida home-educated student, you must:


  • Meet the General Requirements for Bright Futures

  • Submit a timely Florida Financial Aid Application

  • Earn required minimum standardized test scores (depends on the award; see charts above)

  • Complete the minimum number of service hours (30-100 hours depending on the award)


As a home-educated student, you do not need to provide a student transcript. The test score and service hour requirements are the same as traditional students.


General Educational Development (GED) Students


To be eligible for the scholarship as a GED student, you must meet the high school coursework and grade point average requirements before taking the GED exam. Your eligibility for a scholarship will be determined in the academic year in which you earn your GED.


To apply as a GED student, you’re required to submit the following:


  • Florida Financial Aid Application

  • Exam scores for the ACT, SAT, or P.E.R.T.

  • High school transcripts

  • GED certificate

  • Documentation of your service hours


Out-of-State (OOS) Students


Although generally, a Bright Futures Scholarship application requires a standard Florida high school diploma, there are exceptions.


You may still be eligible with a high school diploma from a non-Florida school if you:


  • Meet the General Requirements for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program (see above)

  • Have at least one parent who is a Florida resident and is: A) serving active duty in the military or B) on public service assignment away from Florida during your last year of high school

  • Submit a completed FFAA online during the last year in high school (no later than August 31)

  • Submit official high school transcript(s)

  • Submit ACT/SAT scores

  • Submit documentation for out-of-state assignment

  • Submit Proof of



    Dependency


  • Submit documentation of your service hours


Mid-Year Graduates


For the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, you’re considered a mid-year graduate if you’re:


  • Graduating between September 1-January 31 of the academic year

  • Seeking funding for the spring academic term following graduation


If you graduate early but do not seek funding until a subsequent academic year, you are not considered a mid-year graduate for Bright Futures.


But if you do qualify as a mid-year graduate and want to apply for a Bright Futures scholarship, you must:


  • Submit the FFAA by December 31 of your senior year of high school (no exceptions to this deadline)

  • Meet the general scholarship requirements for the academic year of your graduation


How to Apply for a Bright Futures Scholarship


We know all of the different eligibility requirements for the Bright Futures scholarships can seem like a lot. But, luckily, applying isn’t so bad!


All you have to do to apply for a Bright Futures scholarship is:


Submit the



Florida Financial Aid Application





The application gives the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) permission to evaluate your high school transcript(s) for eligibility for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. If you need help filling out the Florida Financial Aid Application, check out the Florida Department of Education’s helpful



reference guide



.


Submit official high school transcripts


Florida’s public high schools automatically send your transcripts to the FDOE for Bright Futures evaluations. If you don’t attend a public high school, you’ll need to make sure official electronic copies of your transcript(s) get sent to



OSFA.Transcripts@fldoe.org




Submit standardized test scores


The easiest way to submit your scores is to request the ACT/SAT to send your official score report to one of Florida’s 12 state universities. You can do this when you register for the tests. You can also take the test as many times as you like up until June 30 of your senior year as a regular graduate or until January 31 if you qualify as a mid-year graduate.


Submit documentation of your service hours


The agencies where you earned the service hours must provide documentation on the agency letterhead of the number of hours and dates of service completed. The hours must be documented in writing, and signed by you, your parent or guardian, and a representative of the organization. For more details on the official guidelines, look



here



.


Unfortunately, there’s not any clear information online that says when and how you submit this document. But we recommend monitoring your account after submitting your application for official instructions. You can also try checking with your guidance counselor.


Submit any required supporting documents


For example, if you’re applying as a GED student, you must also submit a copy of your GED certificate. You’ll find the other documents you may need to submit listed in the section on exceptions to the eligibility requirements above. The information on when and how to submit these documents is, unfortunately, also not clearly stated online.


Bright Futures Scholarship Application Timeline


Now that you know how to apply for the Bright Futures scholarships, let’s make sure you know how to apply on time!


Here are the important dates and deadlines for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program:


October 1:


The Florida Financial Aid Application opens


January 31:


Last day to submit transcripts and test scores for Early Evaluation period deadline


March:


Students who apply for Early Evaluation begin receiving notice of their Bright Futures scholarships eligibility determination


June 30:


All ACT®/SAT®/P.E.R.T. tests must be taken by this date


July:


Students who apply for the Final Evaluation period begin receiving notice of their Bright Futures scholarships eligibility determination


August 31:


Last day to submit the FFAA and meet the Final Evaluation deadline


3 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Bright Futures Scholarship


As we’re sure you can agree, the eligibility requirements for the Bright Futures scholarships are numerous. But most of them center around your academics, test scores, and service hours. So, these 3 tips are to help you specifically improve in those areas.


Aim to Achieve a High GPA


Your GPA doesn’t just determine whether you’re eligible for Bright Futures scholarships. It’s also important for college applications. So, do your best to keep a strong track record of grades by staying



on top of your homework and assignments



, taking



good notes



, making a sustainable



study schedule



, and getting help from a teacher or



tutor



when you need it.


Start Preparing Early for SAT/ACT


Your scores on the SAT/ACT are also important for both your Bright Futures Scholarship application and your college applications. To really give these tests your best shot, start preparing for them as early as possible. According to



Khan Academy



, you should take a diagnostic test to gauge your taking abilities and develop the appropriate study plan at least 6 months before your first test date.


Begin Community Service During Freshman Year


Each of the Bright Futures scholarships requires a minimum number of service hours, ranging from 30 to 100 hours. Don’t wait to try to do this right before the deadline! You’re better off starting your hours in your freshman year of high school and gradually building them up over time. Just make sure you’re following the



volunteer service guidelines



set by the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.


Where to Find More Scholarships


We hope this post has helped you get a clear understanding of how to apply for and win one of the Florida Bright Futures scholarships. But we also hope you don’t stop there. Because there are many more scholarships just like this one that can help you pay for college!


To easily find them, download



our site Search



, the #1 scholarship app in the world that instantly matches you with hundreds-of-thousands of dollars scholarships based on your interests, accomplishments, and traits!


You can also check out the rest of our blog where we share tips and strategies on how you can find ways to pay for college and win other scholarships like the



Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship



and various



Full-Ride Scholarships



.


Good luck!