Florida Scholarships and Grants

Florida financial aid is relatively easy to come by if you know where to look. If you’re wondering how you’re going to finance your Florida education, these Florida scholarships and grants can be helpful. Most are for Florida residents attending Florida colleges and universities, but some exceptions may apply. If you live in the sunshine state, check out these scholarship and grant opportunities:

  • Florida Bright Futures College Scholarship Program

This program is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students can enroll both part time and full time with this scholarship, but they must achieve twenty-four semester hours per academic year. Students enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours can receive funding at a prorated rate.

For undergraduates, the Bright Futures Scholarship can receive up to 100% tuition funding. As long as the student’s GPA is high enough, the award does not need to be paid back. If the GPA is insufficient during a student’s freshman year, the scholarship will turn into a loan that will need to be repaid. Graduate students who are Florida Academic Scholars and Florida Medallion Scholars can get funding for one term of graduate study of up to fifteen credit hours. However, the award is still paid out at the lower undergraduate rate.

Student can apply for the award starting December 1 of the year before their high school graduation. Homeschool, GED, and some out-of-state applicants are eligible, though preference goes to Florida graduates. Students can start the application online at www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org.

  • Florida Student Assistance Grant Program

This program is for students at state universities and colleges in Florida as well as certain private, non-profit four-year universities in Florida. While the funding for this grant program comes through the state, students actually apply for awards through their individual schools, which determine how much is awarded to each student. Students who graduate in the top 20% of their classes are eligible for the related Talented Twenty program, which gives them priority for FSAG funding at their school of choice.

In order to receive funding, students must be Florida residents and US citizens, though some non-citizens are also eligible. Students must not be in default on any federal or state loans, and they must not already have a baccalaureate degree. Students must also enroll for a minimum of twelve credit hours to qualify for these Florida grants for private schools and other postsecondary institutions. Students who are enrolling for nine to eleven credit hours may qualify for the FSAG Public three-quarter time program, and students who are enrolling for six to eight hours may qualify for the FSAG Public half-time program. In these cases, award amounts are simply prorated based on the number of hours a student is taking.

In order to apply for this award, students must simply fill out the Free Applications for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA should be filed as soon as possible, as many schools work on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Florida First Generation Matching Grant

This grant is set up to give first generation Florida students a better chance to succeed in college. In order to apply, students must be Florida residents, not have a baccalaureate degree, enroll at least half time in a Florida state university or community college, and meet the financial need eligibility requirements.

Students must fill out the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for this award. The award amount is up to the Coast of Attendance minus the Expected Family Contribution. The cost of attendance includes everything like tuition, educational fees, books, transportation, room and board, dependent care, study abroad expenses, and other necessary personal expenses related to schooling. The Expected Family Contribution is determined by a family’s income information as reported on the FAFSA.

Often times, there is a large gap between EFC and the actual cost of attendance. Students who are first generation college students can have up to the amount of this gap met by this grant. Students do not have to match any dollar for dollar amounts with the grant, but must simply meet the familial and financial requirements in order to qualify. For more information, go to https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/home/1stGen_faq.asp.

  • Barnes Scholarship

This scholarship is for students from public and private high schools in West Central Florida – Pinellas, Hollsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties. Students can get up to $15,000 a year for four years to attend any accredited US university or college. In order to receive the award, students must show financial need, community service, and academic achievement. Students must also have overcome hardships in their lives in order to be academically successful.

Students can renew the scholarship throughout their undergraduate career as long as they remain in good academic standing. Winners of this award have gone on to such prestigious schools as Georgetown University, Northwester, Ohio State, Tulane, and Princeton, among many others.

Students should start their applications for the Barnes scholarship early in senior year. For information about the scholarship, students can contact the coordinator at 727-893-8780 or by email at waclawek@sptimes.com.

  • Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Fund

This is a need and merit based scholarship for students of Hispanic origin who want to attend Florida colleges and universities. The award can go to any public Florida institution as well as to many private universities and colleges in the area. To qualify, students must reside in Florida and be of Spanish culture by either being born in or having a natural parent who was born in Mexico or another Hispanic country.

Students can apply by first completing an Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application during the senior year of high school. Students who demonstrate financial need and who otherwise meet the conditions of this scholarship can receive up to $2,000 toward schooling for four years of schooling. The award is automatically renewed as long as the student maintains a 3.0 GPA each year of college. Students must also be enrolled in school at least three-quarter time in order to qualify for this award. For more information, visit http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/ssfad/factsheets/josemarti.htm

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