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Florida Bright Futures

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program was created to reward Florida high school graduates for high academic achievement. The Florida Legislature made several changes to the program in 2012.
Eligible Bright Futures students enrolled in the pilot program at the University of Florida may receive an award for no more than two semesters in a fiscal year. Summer funding is available for those students.
Students graduating from high school in 2012-13 are eligible to accept an initial Bright Futures award for two years following high school graduation and to accept a renewal award for five years following high school graduation.
Initial and renewal Bright Futures students must submit a complete and error free Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year, prior to disbursement of their award.
Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars graduating in 2011-12 may receive an award for 100 percent of the number of hours required to complete only one of the following programs at a Florida public or eligible Florida private postsecondary institution:
o Applied Technology Diploma, up to 60 credit hours or equivalent clock hours
o Technical Degree Education Program, not to exceed 72 credit hours or equivalent clock hours
o Career Certificate Program, not to exceed 72 credit hours or equivalent clock hours.

Students who graduate from high school mid-year may submit a Florida Financial Aid Application no later than August 31 prior to the student’s graduation, be evaluated for Bright Futures, and, if eligible, receive funding in the spring term following the student’s high school graduation. These students will be evaluated for renewal of their scholarships at the end of their first full year, fall through spring, of funding.
Recipients now receive a fixed cost per credit hour award based on their award level, the type of institution they attend, and the type of credit they will earn (i.e. semester, quarter, or clock hour). The award amounts are provided at the Bright Futures Web site, www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org/ssfad/bf/newsrenew.htm.
The program offers three award levels:
• The Florida Academic Scholars award, including the Academic Top
Scholars (ATS) award
• Florida Medallion Scholars award
• Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars award
To receive an award for the first time, a student must meet specific coursework and minimum grade point average and test score requirements. These are provided on the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) Web site www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org/SSFAD/bf/acadrequire.htm.
The student also must be a Florida resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. He or she must not owe a repayment or be in default under any state or federal grant, loan or scholarship program unless arrangements to repay have been made.

The Florida Department of Education is required to approve home education community service hours for Bright Futures initial eligibility.

The Academic Top Scholars award is awarded to the Florida Academic Scholar with the highest academic ranking in each county. This is determined by multiplying the Bright Futures GPA and the highest qualifying SAT/ACT test score). The recipient receives a cost-per-credit-hour award in addition to the Florida Academic Scholars award. For current year award amounts visit: www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/bf/awardamt.htm.
Students must repay the cost of courses that are dropped or withdrawn, unless an exception is recommended by the financial aid office at their postsecondary institution based on a verifiable illness or an emergency beyond the student’s control. The award won’t be renewed for the following year until repayment is made.
Florida Gold Seal Vocation Scholars can no longer renew as Florida Medallion Scholars. They may seek funding for up to 90 semester hours.
Bright Futures recipients must meet minimum credit hour requirements to renew their award. Full-time students must earn at least 24 semester hours or the equivalent in quarter or clock hours in order to have their award renewed at the end of the spring term.
Applying for an Award
To apply, submit an Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application during the student’s last year in high school, after December 1 and prior to graduation, by visiting www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid. Select “State Grants, Scholarships & Applications,” then “Apply Here.”
Students are now required to submit a complete, error-free FAFSA for Bright Futures, Florida Resident Access Grant, and Access to Better Learning and Education Grant initial and renewal eligibility any time prior to disbursement. Students will not receive any Bright Futures funds if they do not submit their FAFSA.
Note: If students don’t apply during the last year in high school before
graduation, they forfeit all future eligibility for a Bright Futures Scholarship.
A student who receives an award is automatically evaluated for renewal at the end of spring term based on his or her cumulative GPA and course load. Students may request that a financial aid officer at the postsecondary institution use high school dual enrollment courses when calculating the renewal GPA.
The renewal requirements are:
• Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and 12 semester hours earned per term
for Florida Academic Scholars Award.
• Minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA and 12 semester hours earned per term
for Florida Medallion Scholars Award.
• Minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA and 12 semester hours earned per term
for Florida Gold Seal Vocationjal Scholars Award.
Students enrolled part time for any part of the academic year must earn a
prorated number of credit hours. For details, select the “Required Hours” link at www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org./SSFAD/bf/.
Restoration of Scholarship
Students who are ineligible for renewal may apply for restoration one time. They must complete a Reinstatement/Restoration Application for Students form available at www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org. Select “State Grants, Scholarships & Applications, Apply Here,” and then “Reinstatement/Restoration Application for Students.” New applications are available on February 1 each year.
Those who failed to meet the GPA requirement may apply for restoration in an academic year after which the 2.75 postsecondary institutional cumulative GPA was met. The 2.75 GPA must be met before the fall term for which the student is applying.
A student who does not meet the minimum credit hours requirement will lose eligibility for renewal for one academic year. The student may apply one time for restoration the following academic year, after the required hours are earned (for which he/she was enrolled at the level defined by the department) and the required GPA has been met.