The Bright Futures Scholarship program is available to eligible students who live in the state of Florida. This award is offered through the Florida Lottery program, which was designed to make college more affordable to promising high school graduates who demonstrate financial need. The award may be used at any in-state institution.
This award is rather complex in terms of understanding the eligibility criteria and how the program works. However, interested applicants can find answers to all of their questions in the Bright Futures Student Handbook, which can be found online at this website. Students must submit a completed application between December 1 and August 31 of their last year in high school in order to be considered for the award.
In order to be eligible to apply for the Bright Futures scholarship, students must be a resident of both the U.S. and Florida. Students must also earn a high school diploma from a school in Florida and must complete the Florida Financial aid application before the end of August. Only applicants who have no felony charges are eligible. Furthermore, students must plan to enroll for a minimum of six credit hours at an eligible postsecondary school in Florida.
Students are chosen for the Bright Futures scholarship based on a number of criteria. First of all, the committee looks at the high school student’s weighted grade point average. Secondly, scores on standardized tests (SAT or ACT) are considered. The best section score for all attempts is the score that will be considered. This is to ensure that the student’s highest overall score is used when making award decisions. Next, the committee looks at how many service hours the student has engaged in prior to graduation. Students who have already demonstrated academic merit though one of the following mechanisms, are also eligible: National Merit Scholars, Advanced International Certificate of Education Diploma, International Baccalaureate Diploma, or National Hispanic Scholars.
After a student completes an application, they will be notified of their decision. The early evaluation portion begins making notifications in March. This is available to students who have electronically submitted their transcripts. Final evaluations are posted beginning in July. All decisions are posted online and students will need to log into their account to see their award decision.
In rare cases, students who are selected as recipients may defer the award. The only time this is allowed is when a student enlists in the military. Students will remain eligible for the award 2 years after they leave active duty.
The amount of the award varies and may cover up to full tuition and fees. Students who are interested in applying, can find additional information about the award as well as frequently asked questions online. These awards are renewable provided that the student continues to maintain eligibility for the award based on academic merit.