Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Requirements & Legislative Updates
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program provides scholarships based on high school academic achievement. It has four award levels: the Florida Academic Scholars Award, Academic Top Scholars Award, Florida Medallion Scholars Award, and Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award. Each award has different academic criteria for eligibility and receives a different award amount. The Florida academic scholar with the highest academic ranking in each county will receive the Academic Top Scholars Award.
Eligibility and Application:
All awardees must submit a completed (error free) Florida Financial Aid Application during their last year in high school after December 1st and prior to graduation. Eligibility and application criteria are available from your high school guidance office, or the Florida Bright Futures Program website. Students who plan to graduate from high school in 2016 should also visit FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org.
Bright Futures recipients are required to meet new minimum credit hour requirements to renew their award each year. The Florida Legislature now requires full-time students to earn at least 24 semester hours (prorated for part-time students), or the equivalent in quarter or clock hours, in order to renew their award at the end of the spring term. Additionally, Florida Academic Scholars must earn a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA to renew their award each year. Florida Academic Scholars with 2.75-2.99 will renew as Florida Medallion Scholars. Florida Medallion and Gold Seal Vocational Scholars must earn a 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA to renew each year.
Award Amounts effective 2015-2016 (subject to change):
The Florida Academic Scholars award is $103 per credit hour.
The Academic Top Scholars award is $44 per credit hour.
The Florida Medallion Scholars award is $77 per credit hour.
The Gold Seal Vocational Scholars award is $77 per credit hour.
**Certain graduate students may be eligible for one (1) semester of Bright Futures funding, not to exceed 15 credit hours. Bright Futures for graduate students is funded at the undergraduate rate. In order to be considered for Bright Futures funding, as a graduate student, a student must meet the following requirements:
Be a Florida Academic Scholar or a Florida Merit Scholar
Have a remaining time on the seven year bright future limit
Receive a baccalaureate degree during or after the Fall 2011 semester
Earn a baccalaureate degree within 7 semesters of Bright Futures funding; or within a 105 hours of Bright Futures funding.
Dropped Class Repayment Requirement:
Senate Bill 1696 - requires the repayment of disbursed Bright Futures scholarship funds for course drops and/or withdrawals after the end of Drop/Add. Repayment means that if you drop and/or withdraw from a class after Drop/Add, you will have to repay the Bright Futures award you received for that course.
When you drop a class after the end of the fourth day, you will have the appropriate charge added to your student account in Student Financial Services. This charge must be paid prior to registration for future terms.
The legislation allows for exceptions in the case of "verifiable illness or other documented emergency". If you believe you have reason for an appeal, follow the process outlined in the State Programs Appeal Form available in the Forms section of the Office of Financial Aid website.
Students who lose a scholarship because of a low GPA or a failure to fulfill the hours requirements can apply to have the scholarship restored - this process is called "restoration." An eligible student who did not receive scholarship funds for the previous academic year (fall through spring) is eligible for "reinstatement." Students who qualify for restoration or reinstatement must complete a Reinstatement/Restoration application available on the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) Web site at FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org.
An eligible student who did not receive scholarship funds for the previous academic year (fall through spring) is eligible for "reinstatement."
Students who qualify for restoration or reinstatement must complete a Reinstatement/Restoration application available on the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) Web site at FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org.