female student in graduation attire holding bundles of money in both hands

Let's Cover the Basics!

In Florida, we are proud to have accessible and affordable higher education options. Still, students and their families are wise to take advantage of every available scholarship to keep post-graduation debt as low as possible. To date, the Bright Futures Scholarship has helped more than 725,000 Florida students attend a postsecondary institution, and your student could be among that growing number! We have compiled this three-part series to provide an overview of the Bright Futures process from start to finish. In today’s installment, we will go over initial eligibility requirements. Let’s get started!

What are the student eligibility requirements?

Although the deadline for students entering college in fall 2018 to apply is August 31, students are encouraged strongly to submit all information prior to high school graduation. At the time of submission, students must meet all of the following requirements. The checklist below can help families track their students’ progress.  

  • 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).
  • Earn a standard high school diploma or its equivalent from a Florida public high school, a Florida Department of Education registered private school or a home education program.
  • Not have been found guilty of, or pled nolo contendere to, a felony charge.
  • Be accepted by and enroll in a degree or certificate program at an eligible Florida public or independent postsecondary institution.
  • Be enrolled for at least 6 non-remedial semester credit hours.

Are non-traditional students eligible for Bright Futures Scholarships?

Absolutely! Non-traditional students are eligible to apply for Bright Futures Scholarships, and they are encouraged to, just like any other Florida student. Non-traditional students include:

  • Home Education – students that do not attend public or private schools and are receiving homeschooling.
  • GED – students that did not graduate from high school. Instead, they went through a special program to receive the high school equivalency diploma.
  • Out of State – a student who earns a high school diploma from a Florida Institution while living outside of the state of Florida due to special circumstances such as full time religious or military obligations.
  • Mid-Year Graduates – a student who intends to graduate in the middle of an academic school year (Between September 1 and January 31).

Not all students pursue higher education right out of high school. Can those students still receive Bright Futures Scholarships?

Yes. Students who are not enrolling in a post-secondary institution immediately after high school graduation may apply within two years from the day of graduation to earn a Bright Futures Scholarship. 

What if my student plans to attend a private school?

The Bright Futures Scholarship rewards eligible students for their hard work in high school whether they attend a public or private institution after high school graduation. Students attending a nonpublic institution will receive a comparable amount as noted in the Private Award Chart.

This concludes the first installment of our Bright Futures Scholarship series. Be on the look out for the second installment where we will discuss next steps after determining eligibility. Can’t wait for the next two installments to learn more? No problem! Everything you need to know about the Bright Futures Scholarship is available online at www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/ssfad/bf/.