Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program establishes lottery-funded scholarships to reward Florida high school graduates for high academic achievement. Money is available to students attending Florida colleges. These scholarships are known as the “Bright Futures” scholarships. Students are encouraged to check with their guidance counselor to see if they are eligible for these scholarships which have course, GPA, and test requirements. Seniors will receive the Florida Bright Futures criteria from their school counselor during their initial senior appointment in the Fall and sign a form stating that they have been given this information. Available money varies from year to year, depending on state funding. School Counselors will be visiting the senior classrooms in the Fall to register all students for the Florida Financial Aid Application which includes the Bright Futures Scholarship and other state scholarship opportunities. More information can be found on their website and instructions for the Bright Futures Scholarship Application may be found here.
The FAFSA is the form that determines most of the aid you’re eligible to receive as a student. The federal government alone doles out nearly $170 billion in student aid each year and they decide who gets how much of that money based on the information included in your FAFSA form. And that’s just one part of the student aid pie the FAFSA form helps you cut into, most states use the FAFSA application to determine eligibility for state aid, and most colleges also use the form to determine how much private aid to provide to prospective students. The U.S. Department of Education has released resources to help you understand the 2021-22 FAFSA. Students can now submit the FAFSA as early as Oct. 1.
Completing the FAFSA is the first step toward getting financial aid for college or career school. The FAFSA not only gives students access to the $150 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds that the federal government has available, but many states, schools, and private scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA before they will consider you for any financial aid they offer. That’s why it’s important that every college-bound student complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. Click here for a YouTube video to explain how to complete the FAFSA.
General Scholarship Search Advice
When you visit colleges ask if merit entrance scholarships require a separate application form or if the admissions staff will automatically forward any eligible candidates to the scholarship committee. Merit awards are based upon a particular talent or ability, such as dance, visual art, acting, vocal or instrumental music, writing, leadership, community service/volunteer hours, or overall academic ability. They are not generally related to financial need. Some of these scholarships are renewable if the student maintains a required GPA at college; others are entrance scholarships for freshman year only.
Print resources available for scholarship searches:
- How to Find a Scholarship Online, Shannon R. Turlington (McGraw-Hill 2000)
- Internet Guide for College-Bound Students, Kenneth E. Hartman. (The College Board).
- Peterson’s Winning Money for College: The High School Student’s Guide to Top College Scholarship Contests, Alan Deutschman for students with good writing ability.
- The Princeton Review: The Scholarship Advisor, Christopher Vituro.
- The Minority and Women’s Complete Scholarship Book, Student Services LLC (Sourcebooks Inc., Naperville, IL)
- Peterson’s Sports Scholarships and College Athletic Programs, Ron Walker, ed.
- How to Go to College Almost for Free, Benjamin R.Kaplan (Waggle Dancer Books).