How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (2023)

How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (1)

The Florida Bright Futures scholarships are great funding options for Florida residents who want to stay in the state for college or vocational school. All four awards are easily renewable, which means you could significantly cut your college expenses for several years.

You might think there’s some complicated paperwork involved in submitting the Florida Bright Futures scholarship application. As it turns out, much of the process is streamlined and automated —you actually don’t have to jump through too many hoops to apply. The eligibility requirements are a bit of a different story, but once you meet those, the application process should be pretty easy.

In this post, we'll briefly explain about eligibility requirements before moving on to the application timeline. We end with tips and strategies you can use to submit the best possible Bright Futures application.

How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (2)

Bright Futures Requirements for Eligibility

The first step in submitting a successful Bright Futures scholarship application is to make sure you’re actually eligible for the scholarship. This isn’t something you can do at the last minute—meeting eligibility requirements for these awards requires more long-term thinking.

General Scholarship Requirements

Here are the general requirements that apply to all Bright Futures Scholarships:

  • You must be a Florida resident and US citizen or eligible non-citizen (this is determined by your college).
  • You must earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalent from a Florida public high school or a registered Florida Department of Education private school.
  • You can’t have been convicted of (or pleaded no contest to) a felony charge.
  • You must be accepted by and enroll in a degree or certificate program at an eligible Florida public or independent postsecondary institution (postsecondary = college, vocational, or professional program).
  • You must be enrolled for at least 6 (non-remedial) credit hours per term, including the term immediately after you graduate from high school.

Specific Scholarship Requirements

There are different minimum GPA, ACT/SAT, and service hour requirements for the four Bright Futures scholarships. The most competitive scholarship is the Florida Academic Scholars Program (FAS), followed by the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS), the Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV), and the Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC).

This chart outlines some of the most important requirements for the FAS and FMS programs (you don't need to take both the ACT and SAT—one will do!).

FAS3.50291330100 hours
FMS3.0026121075 hours
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The GSV program is a bit different when it comes to eligibility requirements. The minimum GPA required to qualify for the GSV program is 3.0, weighted, in non-elective courses. The service hours minimum requirement is 30.

GSV test score requirements are a bit more detailed (note that you only have to take one of the following exams, but you can't mix and match subsections from different tests):

ExamSubsectionScore minimum
Writing and Language25

Gold Seal CAPE Scholars (GSC)

The Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars program, or GSC, is awarded to students who are enrolled in career education or career certificate programs that earn associate's degrees and want to continue on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree. To qualify for the GSC, you must:

  • Earn a minimum of five postsecondary credit hours through CAPE industry certifications (that count toward college credit)
  • Complete 30 service hours

Students who meet these requirements can earn funding for a maximum of 60 credit hours put toward earning a Bachelors of Science degree or a Bachelors of Applied Science degree.

There's some more fine print when it comes to eligibility requirements for the Florida Bright Futures scholarships. To get more detailed information on meeting all of these requirements, check out our Bright Futures guide.

How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (3)

4 Steps to Applying for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship

Much of this process is automated—you won’t have to do much extra work outside of submitting the Florida Financial Aid Application and keeping an eye on your app to make sure everything is processed correctly.

If all of your eligibility requirements check out, you can start the application as early as December 1.

Step 1: Submit the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA)

The FFAA opens December 1 each year. Your Florida Bright Futures account login information will be sent to you after you submit the FFAA. Just remember that you must submit your FFAA by August 31 of the year that you graduate from high school, or you won't be eligible for a scholarship award.

Step 2: Take the ACT or SAT and Submit Your Scores

The good news is that you’ll have to take either the ACT or SAT for college applications anyway. Send your scores to any Florida public college or university to ensure that the Florida Department of Education—the institution that reviews Bright Futures applications—receives them.

Step 3: Submit Your Official High School Transcripts

More good news: many schools will submit your transcripts automatically for consideration. Still, it's a good idea to check in with your guidance counselor about whether you need to take any additional steps.

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Step 4: Keep the Information in Your Account Updated

There are a bunch of things you can (and should) manage once you get your Bright Futures account information:

  • Monitor your reported service hours.
  • Update your postsecondary institution: once you’ve been accepted to/enrolled at a FL college or vocational school, you would make a note of this in your account.
  • Update any demographic information.
  • View your eligibility determination: check your account once everything’s been submitted to see if you’re eligible for the scholarship.

Application Timelines

There are two Bright Futures timelines to be aware of if you're ready to start the application process: Early Evaluation and Final Evaluation.

How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (4)

If you can plan for the Early Evaluation timeline, you could potentially learn about Bright Futures eligibility as early as March.

Early Evaluation

If your transcripts are submitted for 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), you’ll get an eligibility notification posted to your online account. These postings may begin in March, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Final Evaluation

All students whose final transcripts are submitted during or after the last high school term will get their eligibility notifications posted to their online accounts beginning in July, again according to the Florida Department of Education.

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

Now that you know a little bit more about eligibility requirements and the application process, you can focus on making your Bright Futures application the best it can be.

The good news: aside from making sure you meet all eligibility requirements, there isn’t much you have to do to make your application “stand out.” If you meet the requirements for the FAS, FMS, or GSV scholarship, you’ll receive the scholarship—it’s as simple as that.

The bad news: the eligibility requirements are strict. There’s no gray area—you either qualify because you meet all requirements, or you don’t (no matter how close you are) and don’t get a scholarship. There are some eligibility loopholes and exceptions for out-of-state, homeschooled, and GED students—learn more about them in our requirements guide.

The best Bright Futures success strategy will focus on meeting eligibility requirements as early in your high school career as possible. The following tips will help you do that, starting right now.


All Bright Futures scholarships require students to complete a certain set of high school courses. You’re likely to meet all coursework requirements if you went to high school in Florida. If you suspect there may be a problem, schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor.

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It's difficult to significantly raise your GPA in a short period of time. Focus on your grades by picking a realistic GPA minimum starting your freshman year. If you're struggling to meet your goal, here are some ways to bring up that GPA:

  • Take classes that are appropriate for your skill level. If you're unsure about which classes are most appropriate, meet with your guidance counselor to discuss.
  • See teachers for extra help in weak subject areas.
  • Ask about extra credit assignments if possible.
  • Check out our guide on raising your GPA.

Community Service

The earlier you start reporting your community service hours, the fewer hours per week you’ll need to volunteer. If you start chipping away at this requirement as a senior, you'll have to set aside 2-3 hours a week for community service; if you start as a freshman; however, you'll only need to volunteer 1-1.5 hours every two weeks.

You can't earn any money for your community service hours, but you can kill two birds with one stone and look for positions where you can get interesting professional experience. Start by asking friends and family for suggestions—but make sure you're working with a legitimate agency who will reliably track your hours.

Finally, set a schedule. Go at the same time every week or every two weeks so you don't fall behind on completing your hours. If you need some help brainstorming, check out our guide to the best places to do community service.

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What's Next?

The Florida Bright Futures scholarships aren't your only options for paying for college. Read more about top scholarship programs for high school juniors and high school seniors.

Although it's less exciting than applying for scholarship programs, you can maximize the amount of money you'll get for college by knowing your way around financial aid. Learn about the financial aid application process and specific aid programs, like the Pell Grant.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (6)

How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (7)

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How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application (8)

Francesca Fulciniti

About the Author

Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.

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How do you get 100% Bright Futures? ›

Minimum weighted 3.0 GPA in non-elective high school courses. Enroll in at least 3 credits in a single career and technical education program. Obtain a minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA in career education courses. Complete at least 30 service hours (See below for COVID chances in service hour requirements)

Can you Superscore for Bright Futures? ›

Superscores. The Bright Futures scholarship uses a superscore, which is a combination of Dominique's two highest subject test scores (even though he took the test twice on two separate occasions).

What GPA does Bright Futures look at? ›

A scholar earning a GPA of 3.0 or higher will result in a successful restoration to FAS award eligibility. No further restoration opportunities will be allowed. A scholar earning a GPA between 2.75 – 2.99 will result in a successful restoration to FMS award eligibility without an opportunity to restore as an FAS.

How much does Bright Futures pay 75%? ›

Medallion Scholars will receive an award amount equal to 75% of tuition and applicable fees. The tuition and applicable fees for 1 credit hour is $159.21.

Is Bright Futures based on weighted or unweighted GPA? ›

Evaluation for Bright Futures includes an unrounded, weighted high school GPA (calculated to two decimal places) in the 16 college preparatory credits.

What percentage of Florida students get Bright Futures? ›

There are over 23,000 Florida Bright Futures Scholars at the University of Florida, and 93% of incoming in-state Freshmen receive the award.

How much does FMS Bright Futures pay? ›

Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) will receive an award to cover 75% of tuition and applicable fees when attending a public postsecondary institution.

Can you be denied Bright Futures? ›

The Bright Futures initiative requires students to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. A GPA lower than 2.0 will result in loss of funds. Appeals from students asking for Bright Futures Funds with a GPA lower than 2.0 are rarely approved.

What SAT score do you need for 50% Bright Futures? ›

What is the bright future sat requirement? A.To be eligible for the Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholars grant, you must have a minimum SAT score of 1330 or a qualifying ACT score of around 29.

What does 100 Bright Futures cover? ›

The Florida Academic Scholars will receive an award amount equal to 100% of tuition and applicable fees. Applicable fees include: activity and service fee, health fee, athletic fee, financial aid fee, capital improvement fee, campus access/transportation fee, technology fee and tuition differential fee.

Does Bright Futures require 12 credits? ›

Awards are adjusted to your actual enrollment after the add/drop period each semester. Bright Futures requires a minimum enrollment of 6 credits per semester. Special fees for online courses, housing or any other additional fees are not covered by the Bright Futures Scholarship.

Are you guaranteed Bright Futures if you meet the requirements? ›

It covers the cost of tuition and select fees depending on your academic accomplishments and the type of institution you plan on attending. Although the requirements are specific, meeting the requirements virtually guarantees that you'll get the scholarship.

What is 2023 Florida Bright Futures? ›

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship application is now available online for the Class of 2023. Bright Futures is a scholarship program that rewards Florida high school graduates for their academic achievement and community service. It is not based on financial need.

Does Bright Futures cover all 4 years? ›

Students may receive funding for up to five years from high school graduation for a maximum of 120 semester hours toward the completion of the first baccalaureate degree.

What are the 3 levels of Bright Futures? ›

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program provides scholarships based on high school academic achievement. It has three award levels: the Florida Academic Scholars Award, Florida Medallion Scholars Award, and Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award.

Does Florida Bright Futures pay for housing? ›

The remaining balance of the Bright Futures award will be deposited to the student's bank account, and those funds could be used toward housing and living expenses. Florida Prepaid Plans and Bright Futures Scholarships can be used during the summer.

What ACT score do you need for Bright Futures 2023? ›

Test (based on the combined Critical Reading and Math sections only) or best composite score of AT LEAST 29 ACT (excluding the writing section). criteria. The Fall Deadline to complete the requirements for 2022-2023 Bright Futures is August 31, 2022.

What is a 3.7 weighted GPA unweighted? ›

According to College Board, the 4.0 unweighted scale is often used by colleges and high schools. A 3.7 GPA as a letter grade is A-. Converted to a percentage, a 3.7 GPA shows you've scored an average of 90-92% in all your classes.

How is Bright Futures scholarship eligibility evaluated? ›

Evaluation for Bright Futures includes an unrounded, weighted high school Grade Point Average (GPA) (calculated to two decimal places) in the 16 college- preparatory credits. Students must meet the scores set in statute for either the SAT or ACT.

How many people win Bright Futures? ›

To date, the Bright Futures program has helped over 725,000 Florida students go to college!

How many kids get Bright Futures? ›

Still, students and their families are wise to take advantage of every available scholarship to keep post-graduation debt as low as possible. To date, the Bright Futures Scholarship has helped more than 725,000 Florida students attend a postsecondary institution, and your student could be among that growing number!

How much does Bright Futures pay 2023? ›

The Bright Futures scholarship will cover up to one semester of graduate coursework, but will pay at the undergraduate rate of $213.55 per credit hour.

Did Bright Futures get rid of the stipend? ›

Bright Futures Scholarship Program

will no longer receive an additional stipend for textbooks and college-related expenses.

What SAT score do you need for Bright Futures scholarship? ›

Locate your high school graduation year in Column A to determine the requirements and conditions for your Bright Futures award. high school graduates, all home-educated students must earn an 1170 SAT or a 26 ACT for FMS and a 1290 SAT or 29 ACT for FAS award.

How many volunteer hours do you need for Florida Bright Futures? ›

Steps to Successful Volunteering

Aim to complete 25 hours of community service or paid work hours each year of high school to have the 100 hours needed for the Bright Futures Academic Scholarship.

Is Bright Futures based on income? ›

Parents do NOT have to qualify based on income — Bright Futures is awarded strictly on the student's "merit," rewarding their hard work. What a great way to motivate our young people! The highest Bright Futures award amount will cover 100% tuition and fees at any Florida state university — roughly $6,800 per year.

Does everyone get Florida Bright Futures? ›

You Must Apply: Bright Futures is not automatically awarded to a student just because he or she qualifies. Students must meet all eligibility requirements and fill out the online Florida Financial Aid Application. Specific requirements will vary depending on which level of the scholarship the student is applying for.

Is Bright Futures a full ride? ›

Florida state legislature determines which fees are covered by Bright Futures awards. Does the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award pay at different rates? FMS pays 100% of tuition and state-approved fees for students pursuing an associate's degree (AA or AS).

How good is a 750 SAT score? ›

A good SAT score will not only open doors to college acceptance, but also to merit aid at a vast majority of colleges and universities. A good score is in the range of 1300 to 1500 (Math: 650 to 750, Reading/Writing: 650 to 750).

What SAT score do you need for Bright Futures 2024? ›

For FAS students must have a high school weighted Bright Futures GPA of 3.5 and 3.0 for FMS. In addition, the FAS looks at both ACT and SAT. For 2022-23 graduates must earn a 29 on ACT and 1330 on SAT for FAS and 29 for 2023-2024 graduates for ACT and 1340 on SAT.

What happens to Bright Futures if you take a semester off? ›

If you drop below half time, you must repay the entire summer Bright Futures award. If you withdraw from a course, and remain at least half time, then you will have to repay Bright Futures for that course. You will be ineligible for Bright Futures until you have repaid in full.

How many credit hours is full time? ›

Undergraduate students registered for 12 or more semester credits are classified as full-time students, and those enrolled in 6 credits are considered part-time students. To complete an undergraduate program in four years, 15 or more credits need to be completed each semester.

Does Florida Bright Futures pay 100%? ›

Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) will receive an award to cover 100% of tuition and applicable fees when attending a public postsecondary institution. Students attending a nonpublic institution will receive a comparable amount as noted in the Private Award Chart.

How much is 100 Bright Futures? ›

The Florida Department of Education has determined that the award should cover 100% of the following fees; tuition, capital improvement, financial aid, athletics, health, activities & services, differential, transportation, and technology, which comes to a total of $213.55 per credit hour.

How much does Bright Futures give per semester? ›

Florida Medallion Scholars will receive 75% of tuition and applicable fees in Fall and Spring. Applicable fees include: activity and service fee, health fee, athletic fee, financial aid fee, capital improvement fee, campus access/transportation fee, technology fee and tuition differential fee.

How does Florida Bright Futures work? ›

Yes, and this is how it works: Florida Bright Futures (FBF) funds are received from the State of Florida at the end of the first week of classes each semester. FBF will send funds in the amount of the scholarship you will be receiving to cover tuition.

Do you have to take 12 credit hours for Bright Futures? ›

All Bright Futures recipients are required to meet minimum credit hour and GPA requirements to renew their award each year. Students enrolled full time for both semesters are required to earn at least 24 semester hours in order to renew their award at the end of each academic year.

Can you lose Bright Futures scholarship? ›

IF YOU DROP below half-time during the summer term

You will be ineligible for Bright Futures until you have repaid in full. If you graduate with your bachelor's degree, then you are no longer eligible to receive Bright Futures unless you are an eligible graduate student.

How many people get Bright Futures? ›

There are over 23,000 Florida Bright Futures Scholars at the University of Florida, and 93% of incoming in-state Freshmen receive the award.

Does Florida Bright Futures cover full tuition? ›

The Bright Futures program covers tuition and mandatory or applicable fees such as technology fee, transportation fee, health fee, athletic fee, service fee and financial aid fee. Some Bright Future scholarship levels may also award additional money that can be used to cover other college expenses.

What pays first Florida Prepaid or Bright Futures? ›

In most cases, the Florida College or University will bill Florida Prepaid first, and then any Bright Futures awards can help cover the remaining expenses that are not covered under the Plan (such as books, transportation or lab fees).


1. Florida Bright Futures Scholarships Explained for Freeport High School students
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2. Florida Bright Futures Scholarships: FAS and FMS
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5. [CES 2022 Keynote] Building a Brighter Future ‘Together for Tomorrow’
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