The Bright Futures Scholarship Program of Student Financial Assistance Florida Department of Education. The Bright Futures Scholarship Program is governed by the following statutes and rule.
Table of Contents
- Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA)
- General Requirements
- Specific Requirements for the Scholarships
- Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)
- Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)
- Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV)
- Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)
- Non-Traditional Students
- Students Participating in a Home Education (HE) Program
- General Educational Development (GED) Students
- Out-of-State (OOS) Students
- Mid-Year Graduates
- Sending Electronic Transcripts
- Notification of Eligibility
- Deferment of the Scholarship
- Website Addresses
- OSFA Mailing Address
These eligibility requirements are subject to change with each legislative session.
Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA).
Students must APPLY for the scholarship by submitting the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) no later than August 31 after high school graduation. If a student does not apply for the scholarship by the deadline, a student cannot receive the scholarship! All eligibility requirements must be met by high school graduation, but scores of ACT®/SAT®/P.E.R.T. tests taken through June 30 are accepted for evaluation purposes.
After submitting the FFAA, the student is responsible for tracking application and award status online and keeping the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) informed of any demographic or institutional changes. Students are responsible for ensuring that funding for an academic year is accurate by contacting their institution’s financial aid office.
The Bright Futures Scholarship will renew automatically each year (up to the scholarship limit) if the student maintains the required GPA and earns the required credit hours. See Chapter 3:
‘Renewing Your Award’ for more details.
- 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 the student has 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.
- Be enrolled for at least 6 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 two years of high school graduation to have your award reinstated.
- (Please refer to ‘Reinstatement Requirement’ section of Chapter 3 for more information regarding the reinstatement process.)
- (Please refer to the ‘Deferment of the Scholarship’ section at the end of this chapter concerning students who
enlist in the military or engage in a full-time religious or service obligation after graduation.)
Specific Requirements for the cholarshi
Florid Academic Scholars (FAS) Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)
Florida high school students who wish to qualify for the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award or the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award must meet the following initial eligibility requirements:
- Graduate high school from a Florida public high school with a standard Florida high school diploma (high school graduation requirements), graduate from a registered Florida Department of Education private high school, earn a GED, complete a home education program, or graduate from a non-Florida high school (OOS);
- Complete the required high school coursework;
- Achieve the required minimum high school grade point average (GPA);
- Achieve the required minimum score on either the ACT® or SAT® college entrance exam; and
- Complete the required number of service hours.
High School Course Credits
For both scholarships, the required coursework aligns with the State University System admission requirements. The world language requirement can be met by demonstrating proficiencies based on scores on Credit-By-Exam Equivalencies or other university approved means. Otherwise, the high school transcript must include a world language “completer” course to show that the world language requirement has been met. Please refer to the Bright Futures Course Table for specific information on which courses count toward FAS/FMS requirements.
High School GPA
Evaluation for Bright Futures includes an unrounded, weighted high school GPA (calculated to two decimal places) in the 16 college-preparatory credits. The following courses are weighted .25 per semester course or .50 per year course in the calculation of the GPA: Advanced Placement (AP), Pre-International Baccalaureate (Pre-IB), International Baccalaureate (IB), Honors, Pre-Advanced International Certificate of Education (Pre-AICE), Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) or academic Dual Enrollment. For example, whereas an ‘A’ equals 4 quality points for an un-weighted course, an ‘A’ would equal 4.5 quality points for a weighted course. If necessary, students may use two additional credits from courses in the above academic areas, or from AP, IB, or AICE fine arts courses to raise their GPA.
College Entrance Exams
Students must meet the scores set in statute for either the SAT® or ACT® (see chart on page 3).
- The SAT® combined score is the sum of the best Reading (Critical Reading or Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) and Math section scores from any test sitting of the SAT®.
- The ACT® composite score is the average of the best section scores across the four subject area sections from any test sitting: English, Math, Reading and Science. Composite scores ending in 0.50 will be rounded up to the next whole number.
- The ACT®/SAT® exams may be taken an unlimited number of times through June 30 of the student’s graduation year (or through January 31 for mid-year graduates).
- Students will be evaluated based on official test scores from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) repository. To ensure OSFA obtains official test scores: o Ensure demographics on your test registration and high school transcript match; and o Request your official test scores be sent to one of Florida’s 12 state universities, Florida state colleges, or public high schools when registering for the ACT®/SAT®.
Students must complete service hours during high school and by high school graduation. Service hours may include, but are not limited to, a business or governmental internship, work for a nonprofit community service organization, or activities on behalf of a candidate for public office. Except for credit earned through service-learning courses, the student may not receive remuneration or academic credit for the service work performed. The hours must be documented in writing, and signed by the student, the student’s parent or guardian, and a representative of the organization.
Each district school board and the administrators of a nonpublic school must establish approved activities and the process for documentation of service hours. The student must identify a social or civic issue or professional area, develop a plan for personal involvement in addressing the issue or learning about the area, and through papers or other presentations, evaluate and reflect upon the experience.
Other ways to qualify
Students who have demonstrated academic merit through a recognition program may be eligible for Bright Futures without having to meet one or more of the requirements. Note: Both AICE and IB Diplomas must be earned prior to high school graduation. Confirmations may come from AICE and IB as late as September. Please refer to the table below for how to qualify based on one of the merit recognition programs.
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.
- *Students earn one credit by completing one AICE full credit course and another credit for taking the corresponding AICE examination.
- Complete a minimum of 10 credits identified by the International Baccalaureate Organization:
o 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.)
o One credit in Theory of Knowledge
- Complete the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement
- Complete an extended essay.
Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV)
The Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) award may be funded if enrolled in a career education or certificate program. Florida high school students who wish to qualify for the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) award must meet the following initial eligibility requirements:
- • Achieve the required weighted minimum 3.0 GPA in the 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); and
• Complete 30 service hours.
College Entrance Exams
Exam types cannot be combined; a student must qualify based on each sub-test score for a single exam type. Sub-test scores from different test dates may be used to meet the test requirement. Scores taken through June 30 of the student’s senior year (for a regular graduate, or January 31 for a mid-year graduate) will be accepted for Bright Futures evaluation. There is no limit to the number of times a student may retake the test prior to June 30 of the student’s graduation year.
Request test scores be sent to one of Florida’s 12 state universities, Florida state colleges (public community colleges), or public high schools when the student registers for the ACT®/SAT® so that test scores will be sent to the FDOE repository.
Students must complete service hours during high school and by high school graduation. For additional information, refer to Service Hours under Florida Academic and Florida Medallion Scholarships.
Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)
The Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars award (GSC) may be funded if enrolled in a career education or certificate program. Upon completion of an associate in science degree program that articulates to a bachelor of science degree, a GSC Scholar may also receive an award for a maximum of 60 credit hours toward a bachelor of science degree program. Upon completion of an associate in applied science program, a GSC Scholar may also receive an award for a maximum of 60 credit hours toward a bachelor of applied science degree program.
Florida high school students who wish to qualify for the Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars award must meet the following initial eligibility requirements:
- Earn a minimum of 5 postsecondary credit hours through CAPE industry certifications which articulate for college credit; and
- Complete 30 service hours.
Students must complete service hours during high school and by high school graduation. For additional information, refer to Service Hours under Florida Academic and Florida Medallion Scholarships.
Students Participating in a Home Education (HE) Program
All students participating in a home education program must be registered with the district for grades 11 and 12. If the student was not registered with the district home education office for grades
11 AND 12, but has the required transcripts and test scores, he/she may be able to apply as a Florida
GED Diploma recipient.
Florida home-educated students must meet the following initial eligibility requirements:
- • Meet the General Requirements for Bright Futures;
- • Submit a timely Florida Financial Aid Application;
- • Earn required minimum test scores: and
- • Complete the minimum number of service hours.
- Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) – Students must submit a completed FFAA online during the final year in a home education program (no later than August 31). After submitting the FFAA, the student is responsible for tracking application and award status online and keeping OSFA informed of any demographic or institutional changes.
- Exam Scores (ACT®/SAT®) – Students may test through June 30 of the final year in a home education program (or through January 31 of the final year for a mid-year applicant). Submit scores in one of the following ways:
- o Request test scores be sent to one of Florida’s 12 state universities or Florida state colleges (public community colleges) when the student registers for the ACT®/SAT® so the scores will be sent to the FDOE repository.
- o Mail an official copy (no photocopies) of the test scores in the original sealed envelope to the attention of ‘Home Ed’ at the address at the end of this chapter.
- Service Hours – Documentation of service hours must be submitted to the district home education office where the student is registered. The district will certify the hours to FDOE through an electronic process. Service hours must be performed during high school and completed by high school graduation.
The FDOE provides the following guidelines for students in a home education program:
- o Service hours may not be hours that benefitted the student financially or materially, or be service to family members, defined as parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and spouses, including all step relations.
- o The agencies where the service hours were earned must provide documentation on agency letterhead of the number of hours and dates of service completed.
Home-educated students do not need to provide a student transcript. The test score and service hour requirements are provided in the table.
General Educational Development (GED) Students
Documentation outlined below is required for the initial eligibility evaluation of students who earn a Florida high school equivalency diploma (commonly known as the Florida GED diploma) and wish to be evaluated for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.
To be determined eligible for the scholarship, GED students must meet the high school coursework and grade point average requirements before taking the GED exam. Eligibility for a scholarship will be determined in the academic year in which the GED is earned. For additional information on the GED, applicants may wish to visit DOE’s website regarding the GED.
- Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) – Students must submit a completed FFAA online during the final year prior to taking the GED (no later than August 31). After submitting the FFAA, the student is responsible for tracking application and award status online and keeping OSFA informed of any demographic or institutional changes.
- Exam Scores (ACT®/SAT®/P.E.R.T.) – Test scores taken through the end of June of the academic year in which the student takes the GED exam will be admissible. Please note, P.E.R.T. scores are only applicable to the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship. Submit scores in one of the following ways:
- o Request test scores be sent to one of Florida’s 12 state universities or Florida state colleges (public community colleges) when the student registers for the ACT®/SAT® so that test scores will be sent to the FDOE repository.
- o Request a school counselor submit test scores on the high school transcript.
- o Mail an official copy (no photocopies) of the test scores in the original sealed envelope
to the attention of ‘GED’ at the address at the end of this chapter.
- Transcripts – Submit (in any combination) an official transcript to the FDOE by the student’s Florida public high school, FDOE-registered private high school, Florida Virtual School and/or dual enrollment coursework from a Florida state college or university. The required coursework must be completed and the minimum grade point average earned before the Florida GED exam is taken.
- GED – Florida GED diploma will be verified by the FDOE. Please follow the GED verification process outlined by the FDOE GED website. The GED office will email the diploma verification directly to [email protected]
- Service Hours – Documentation of service hours must be submitted to the FDOE-OSFA.
Service hours must be performed during high school and completed by the GED date. The hours must not have been service to family members. The agency or agencies where the service hours were earned must provide documentation of the number of hours and dates of completed service.
Mail supporting documentation to the attention of ‘GED’ to the address at the end of this chapter.
Out-of-State (OOS) Students
Eligibility Criteria: A Bright Futures Scholarship requires a standard Florida high school diploma, unless the student earns a high school diploma from a non-Florida school while living with a parent or guardian who is on A) military or B) public service assignment away from Florida.
Program Requirements (no substitutions):
- Meet the General Requirements for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
- Have 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 the student’s last year of high school.
- Submit a completed Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) online during the last year in high school (no later than August 31).
- Submit official high school transcript(s).
- Submit ACT®/SAT® test scores.
- Submit documentation for OOS assignment.
- Submit Proof of Dependency.
- Submit Documentation of Service Hours.
Select Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program and the Out-of-State Student for a manual with further explanation of required documentation.
A mid-year graduate is a student who graduates September 1 through January 31 of an academic year and seeks funding for the spring academic term following graduation. Students who graduate early but do not seek funding until a subsequent academic year are not considered mid-year graduates for Bright Futures.
The student graduating early and seeking funding for the spring term must submit the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by August 31 PRIOR TO the intended graduation date. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this application deadline. The student must meet the scholarship requirements in effect for the academic year in which he/she graduates. (Example: A December
2018 graduate must meet the 2018-19 scholarship eligibility requirements as well as the general
program requirements as outlined earlier in this document.)
Service hours completed by high school graduation and test scores for test dates through January
31 will be considered in a mid-year graduate’s Final Evaluation. A student’s Final transcript evaluation MUST include a graduation date.
If determined eligible as a mid-year graduate, a student may receive funding for the spring term, if enrolled. These students will be evaluated for renewal of their scholarships at the end of the next academic year of funding.
If a student does not graduate mid-year as planned and wishes to apply as an end-of-year graduate, the student must submit a new FFAA after the new application opens on October 1.
Sending Electronic Transcripts
If the student’s high school is able to send secure electronic transcripts (or if the high school contracts with a third-party transcript service), an official transcript may be emailed to: [email protected]
We do not accept unofficial or photocopied transcripts. Only official transcripts sent to the FDOE via this secured method from the originating school or transcript service may be used in an official evaluation for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
NOTE: Public high schools automatically send student transcripts to FDOE for BF evaluations.
Notification of Eligibil
Early Evaluations (7th Semester) – Postings may begin in March
All students whose transcripts are submitted electronically to the FDOE for an official early evaluation (based on academic progress in the middle of the last year of high school and test scores for tests taken by January 31) will receive an eligibility or ineligibility determination, with the award status notification posted to their online account.
Students cannot lose an award based on early evaluation unless they fail to earn a standard Florida high school diploma from a Florida public or FDOE-registered private high school.
Final Evaluations (8th Semester) – Postings may begin in July
All students whose final transcripts are submitted (following the student’s last term in high school) will receive an award status notification (eligibility or ineligibility determination) posted to their online account.
NOTE: Students awarded an IB or AICE Diploma will receive notifications of eligibility determination in early fall after a list of IB and AICE Diploma recipients has been received by these respective organizations.
The award (or ineligibility) determination will be posted to a student’s online Financial Aid Recipient
History (FARH) screen and is viewable by the student. The FARH shows the following information:
- • Award status (eligibility determination);
• Demographic information;
• Postsecondary institution;
• Amount disbursed each semester;
• Spring renewal GPA;
• Hours remaining for the year and for the scholarship; and
• Correspondence posted and/or sent from the FDOE.
Deferment of the Scholarsh
Students who enlist in the military, or engage in a full-time religious or service obligation lasting at least 18 months may defer the commencement of their scholarship. The 2-year eligibility period and
5-year renewal period will commence upon separation from active duty or the religious or service obligation. Please see the Reinstatement section of Chapter 3 for more information. The religious or service obligation provision is only valid for initial funding and does NOT allow a student extension of time if they have already received a disbursement.