Changes to Bright Futures Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

Students in Florida may have heard of the Bright Futures Scholarship. In 1997, the Florida Lottery was the first group to help pay for the aid. The goal of the scholarship is to help students pay for their college tuition as they work on their degrees. While the state is still hosting the program, recently the Florida government made changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 461, broadening the Bright Futures Scholarship’s eligibility standards, on Monday, June 27, 2022. Those new requirements included paid work experience as a substitute for hours of service from that day forward. Also indicated below are further changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship.

Changes to Bright Futures Scholarship
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The Bright Futures Scholarship at a Glance

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship given to students who have excelled academically in high school. Universities in Florida provide two types of awards: the Florida Academic Scholarship and the Florida Medallion Scholarship.

Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)

Despite its high level of competition, this Bright Futures scholarship offers the most money to the most deserving applicants. If you are a Florida Academic Scholar (FAS) recipient, you can receive up to 120 semester hours of financial aid to help you complete your first bachelor’s degree within five years of high school graduation.

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The Academic Top Scholars Award will be given to the Florida Academic Scholar in each county with the highest academic ranking.

The Florida Academic Scholars will receive an award amount equal to 100% of tuition and applicable fees. Applicable fees include:

  • Activity and service fee
  • Athletic fee
  • Campus access/transportation fee
  • Capital improvement fee
  • Financial aid fee
  • Health fee
  • Technology fee
  • Tuition differential fee

Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)

In comparison to the FAS, this scholarship offers lower minimum exam scores and GPA criteria, yet it is still highly competitive. After high school graduation, a Florida Medallion Scholar (FMS) can receive financial aid for up to five years and 120 semester hours toward a bachelor’s degree.

Florida Medallion Scholars will receive an award amount equal to 75% of tuition and applicable fall, spring and summer fees. Applicable fees include:

  • Activity and service fee
  • Athletic fee
  • Campus access/transportation fee
  • Capital improvement fee
  • Financial aid fee
  • Health fee
  • Technology fee
  • Tuition differential fee

General Bright Futures Requirements

There are a variety of academic requirements for each award, as well as a variety of grant amounts and/or semester hours. To be eligible for any of the Bright Futures awards, you must meet all of the standards listed below. As a condition of your eligibility, you must:

  • Be a Florida state resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Fill out the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by August 31 of the year after you graduate from high school
  • Be accepted into and enrolled in a degree or certificate program at a public or private postsecondary school in Florida that meets the requirements
  • Earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalent from a public high school in Florida or a private school that is registered with the Florida Department of Education.
  • Not have been found guilty of a felony or pleaded guilty to one
  • Be enrolled in at least six non-remedial credit hours per term
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If you meet all of the above criteria, you are well on your way to securing a Florida Bright Futures scholarship.

The Bright Futures Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

As determined by the Florida Department of Education, the current Bright Futures Scholarship eligibility requirements are:

  • Achieve the required composite ACT or combined SAT score per chart here
  • Achieve the required weighted GPA in the 16 college-preparatory courses per chart here
  • Complete the 16 college-preparatory courses required for admission to a state university
  • Complete the required number of service hours per chart here
  • Submit the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) no later than August 31 after high school graduation

On the other hand, as determined by the post-secondary institution, the following are the requirements to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship:

  • Be a Florida resident and U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • Be evaluated by the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) as meeting initial eligibility requirements
  • Enroll as a degree- or certificate-seeking student at a Florida institution in at least 6 non-remedial semester credit hours
  • Graduate with a standard high school diploma or its equivalent

Changes to Bright Futures Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

The Bright Futures Scholarship’s eligibility rules will shortly be updated after a bill was signed into law. Students who work while still in school can substitute their work hours for their volunteer ones on their applications. Those who must work to support their families and cannot volunteer will have a greater chance of getting a college education thanks to these changes to the Bright Future Scholarships.

A Bright Futures Scholarship should not be denied to Florida students because they have to work to help their families make ends meet, said Governor Ron DeSantis. No student will be forced to choose between supporting their family and completing the service hours required to get a scholarship as a result of these proposed changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship eligibility requirements.

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Bright Futures Scholarship FAQs

How much is a Bright Futures Scholarship?

For the summer semester, FAS students will receive a grant that covers all tuition and applicable expenses. On the other hand, there will be a scholarship that covers 75% of the cost of tuition and fees for FMS students.

How many Bright Futures Scholarships are given each year?

More than 120,000 students will get Bright Futures scholarships in 2021-2022, according to the governor.

Does Bright Futures Scholarship expire?

No, it does not. After high school graduation, students can receive up to 120 semester hours of support for the first bachelor’s degree for a maximum of five years.

Can you lose Bright Futures Scholarship?

Yes, you can. It is necessary to meet the renewal conditions each academic year. Your Florida Bright Futures Scholarship will be forfeited if you fail to meet the renewal requirements.

How to keep your Bright Futures Scholarship?

Students must earn the number of credit hours based on the student’s enrollment type per term. Also, the students must maintain their cumulative GPA: 3.0 for FAS and 2.75 for FMS.

How to apply for the Bright Futures Scholarship?

Students who are interested in the scholarship must apply by the deadline of August 31 after their high school graduation by completing the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA).

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