Bright Futures – Shining Bright
On Friday, March 9th, Governor Rick Scott signed the SB4 bill, which amongst other items encourages universities to graduate students within four years and increases funds for Bright Futures scholarships and scholarships for low-income students.
Academic scholars in Bright Futures can now receive 100% of tuition, Medallion scholars will get 75% of tuition and recipients will be able to use the money for summer credit hours beginning in the 2018 Summer term for the Florida Academic Scholars award, and Summer 2019 for the Florida Medallion Scholars award.
A Florida Academic Scholar who is enrolled in a certificate, diploma, associate, or baccalaureate degree program at a public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution is eligible, beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, for an award equal to the amount necessary to pay 100 percent of tuition and fees and is eligible for an additional $300 each fall and spring academic semester or the equivalent for textbooks. Students attending a nonpublic institution will receive a comparable amount as noted.
Florida Medallion Scholar who is enrolled in a certificate, diploma, associate, or baccalaureate degree program at a public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution is eligible, beginning in the fall 2018 semester, for an award equal to the amount necessary to pay 75 percent of tuition and fees as applicable, to assist with the payment of educational expenses.
The Florida Bright Futures is a lottery-funded merit-based scholarship to reward Florida High School graduates for high academic achievement. The Bright Futures Scholarship was created to avoid losing smart students to Ivy League or out of state schools. It was to help keep them in Florida on the theory that when they graduated college, they would stay and work here, adding to the economy in the state.
A maximum of 45 semester hours may be funded in one year at approximately $3465 per person for the top bright futures scholarship.
The top scholarship awards students with an SAT score of 1290 or ACT score of 29 and higher. The Florida Medallion Scholarship awarded students with an SAT score of 1170 and ACT score of 26. In addition, there are weighted GPA minimums of 3.50 for the Florida Academic Scholars Award and a 3.00 GPA for the Florida Medallion Scholars Award and higher and community service hour requirements.
You cannot use it for out of state schools; however, if you attend college out of state and transfer to a Florida college or university within three years of receiving your award, you can have it reinstated. You will still get the full value of Bright Futures and can use scholarship money for any expenses that your prepaid plan doesn’t cover.
And, if you do earn Bright Futures but then move out-of-state, you may lose your eligibility. You must be a Florida resident to receive Bright Futures with the exception of if your parent works for the US Government or is in the military. Read here for more information if this scenario is one your student falls into.
Once you are enrolled and receive bright futures scholarship either as a Florida Academic Scholar award or as a Florida Medallion Scholarship reward, thee are minimum credit hour and grade point hour requirements. In addition, some schools will allow you to “reinstate” if you should lose the higher award due to your GPA not meeting the minimum requirements.
Bright Futures may also be used for tuition and fees for many Study Abroad summer programs provided they are enrolled in at least 6 credits. Check with the USF Office of Financial Aid to make sure they meet eligibility requirements. The Academic Scholarship may be available for all terms and includes the $300 textbook award (fall and spring only). The Medallion Scholarship may not be used for summer terms.
Finally, should a student graduate with their bachelor’s degree in 7 semesters or less or 105 semester hours or less and they have not used up all of their bright futures funding, they may be funded for one semester of graduate study, not to exceed 15 credit hours. This will be paid at the undergraduate rate and must be used within five years from high school graduation.
For more information on USF Bright Futures scholarship award requirements, more information on the Bright Futures scholarship.
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