2020 Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Update
Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship Program is as popular as ever, and with some recent modifications, it’s time for a few updates to keep us all straight.
While the Class of 2020 has faced some challenges due to COVID-19, they have caught a much-needed break with some conditions being adjusted to help students complete their requirements. Scholarship requirements can change year to year, so separately, the Class of 2021 will need to stretch a little farther to meet their new requirements.
Bright Futures is funded by the Florida Lottery and was started in 1997.
First, the Class of 2020: These recent grads were given an extra month—through July 31—to take the ACT/SAT. Also, if they were unable to complete service (volunteer) hours during the 2019-2020 academic year, they can submit statements from school counselors or authorized administrators certifying that the students “had planned for and intended to complete” the service hours.
As for the Class of 2021, lawmakers recently agreed to increase the minimum required test score on the SAT college entrance exam.
- For the top Bright Futures award (Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)), which pays for 100 percent of tuition and fees at state universities, the combined math and reading minimum is going up from 1290 to 1330.
- For the next-highest scholarship award (Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS)), which covers 75 percent of those expenses, the SAT minimum will rise from 1170 to 1210.
Notably, the ACT minimum score remains the same for the top award.
- To be named a Florida Academic Scholar, students still must make at least a 29 on their composite score.
- For the Florida Medallion Scholars—the ACT composite is actually dropping from a 26 to a 25.
All Bright Futures awards continue to have requirements for community service hours and grade-point averages (see chart below or refer to the Handbook).
1 The required coursework aligns with the State University System admission requirements found in Florida Board of Governor’s Regulation 6.002. Additional information regarding high school coursework can be found within the Florida Counseling for Future Education Handbook.
Of course, students who have both Bright Futures Scholarships and a Florida Prepaid Plan will find themselves in the best position of all. Florida’s colleges and universities make it easy for students to use these two programs in tandem. A few points:
- 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 Prepaid Plan (such as books, transportation or lab fees).
- The remaining balance of the Bright Futures award is usually deposited to the student’s bank account, and those funds could be used toward housing and other living expenses.
- Florida Prepaid Plans and Bright Futures scholarships can be used during the summer.
When a student has both Bright Futures and a Prepaid Plan, they can often avoid taking on any college loans at all and sometimes even end up with money left over for living expenses or further studies.
You can learn more about the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program on their website.