Student working to pay for school

Florida Bright Futures Changes a Win for Working Students

High school can be a challenging juggle for go-getter students who are trying to balance their academic goals with extracurricular activities, career and work experience, and personal time.

But the new school year brings good news for students hoping to qualify for the merit-based Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which can help cover Florida college and university costs for Florida high school graduates when they meet certain achievement standards.

The longstanding volunteer hours requirement for Bright Futures eligibility has been amended so that students can count work hours as well. Previously, students had to meet SAT requirements, GPA standards and log volunteer hours (100 hours for the full Bright Futures scholarship). Now, thanks to legislation recently signed into law, high school students graduating in the 2022-23 school year can log work time toward the volunteer requirement.

The change applies to all of the Bright Futures scholarship levels.

One thing that has NOT changed: Bright Futures scholarships and Prepaid Plans work well together to help students and their families cover college costs.

  • 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). 
  • The remaining balance of the Bright Futures award will normally 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.

There are several Bright Futures award levels, based on a combination of the student’s GPA, their college entrance exams scores, and the number of service hours they complete. You can refer to the Bright Futures handbook for more details on these requirements and awards. This handbook is updated annually, so be on the lookout for the 2022-23 update coming soon.

Florida Prepaid plan holders can request to defer the use of their Prepaid Plan and use the Bright Futures Scholarship first if they so choose. There are several ways to approach using the combination of a Prepaid Plan and a scholarship, so please contact our Customer Service team at 1-800-552-4734 if you have any questions. 

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