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Florida scholarships, student loans and grants

Students in the Sunshine State can get up to 100% of their college tuition paid for.

Florida has one of the lowest percentages of students graduating with loans in the country: It ranks 43rd on the list of states with the highest undergraduate student debt. This is likely due to its generous state-funded grant and scholarship programs that see many students getting up to 100% of their tuition paid for each year.

Top Florida college scholarships

Although there are quite a few Florida scholarships available to residents, you’ll find the most options with its Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

Funded by the Florida Lottery, the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program offers four scholarships based on your high school academic performance, test scores and the type of college you’re attending. Here’s how they break down:

Florida Academic Scholarship
Amount

Students attending a public university in Florida can get 100% of their tuition and applicable fees covered each year, along with a $300 stipend for the Fall and Spring semesters.

Attending one of Florida’s private colleges? How much you qualify for depends on the type of school:

  • Four-year school: Up to $211 per credit hour
  • Two-year school: Up to $104 per credit hour
  • Vocational or technical school: Up to $86 per credit hour

You’ll also receive a $300 stipend for the fall and spring semesters.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Florida Academic Scholarship, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Complete required coursework as set out by the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance
  • Weighted high school GPA of at least 3.5
  • Minimum ACT score of 29
  • Minimum SAT score of 1290
  • 100 hours of community service

On top of this, you also need to meet general eligibility criteria:

  • Florida resident
  • Complete the Florida financial aid application (FFAA)
  • Diploma from an eligible Florida high school or its equivalent
  • Enrolled in a degree or certificate program at an eligible Florida school
  • Enrolled in at least six semester credit hours per term
  • US citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • No felony charges

The Florida Academic Scholarship (FAS) is designed to give high-achieving Florida students tuition-free education. It covers up to 100% of your tuition and applicable fees, plus a stipend for extra expenses each semester. Since 2018, you can even use this scholarship to cover summer sessions.


Florida Medallion Scholarship
Amount

Students attending a public university in Florida can get 75% of their tuition and applicable fees covered each year.

Attending one of Florida’s private colleges? How much you qualify for depends on the type of school:

  • Four-year school: Up to $158 per credit hour
  • Two-year school: Up to $78 per credit hour
  • Vocational or technical school: Up to $64 per credit hour
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Florida Medallion Scholarship, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Complete required coursework as set out by the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance
  • Weighted high school GPA of at least 3.0
  • Minimum ACT score of 26
  • Minimum SAT score of 1170
  • 75 hours of community service

    On top of this, you also need to meet general eligibility criteria:

    • Florida resident
    • Complete the Florida financial aid application (FFAA)
    • Diploma from an eligible Florida high school or its equivalent
    • Enrolled in a degree or certificate program at an eligible Florida school
    • Enrolled in at least six semester credit hours per term
    • US citizen or eligible noncitizen
    • No felony charges

    The Florida Medallion Scholarship (FMS) is similar to the FAS, but you only get up to 75% of your tuition and fees covered. However, it has slightly easier eligibility criteria — requiring fewer community service hours and a lower GPA and test scores.


    Gold Seal Vocational (GSV) and Gold Seal CAPE (GSC) Scholarships
    Amount

    How much you qualify for depends on the institution you attend, amount of credit hours you enroll in and the type of program you pursue.

    • Students in a Technical Degree Education Program or pursing a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) can qualify for up to $48 per semester hour.
    • Students in a Career Certificate Program (PSAV) or Applied Technology Diploma Program (ATD) can qualify for up to $39 per semester hour.

    In addition, Gold Seal CAPE recipients may also receive an award for up to 60 credit hours of a BS or BAS degree program. Consult the Bright Futures Student Handbook for a more specific breakdown of possible awards.

    Eligibility requirements

    To qualify for the Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Minimum 3.0 GPA in nonelective high school courses
    • Earned at least three full credits in a Career and Technical Education Program
    • Minimum 3.5 GPA in career education courses
    • Meet minimum test scores for the ACT, SAT or Florida Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT)*
    • 30 hours of community service

    * The scores necessary for each exam are outlined in the Bright Futures Student Handbook, Chapter 1.

    To qualify for the Gold Seal CAPE Scholarship, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Earned at least five postsecondary credit hours through CAPE industry certifications
    • 30 hours of community service

    These scholarships are designed for high-achieving Florida high school students who want to pursue vocational training at a postsecondary level. You’ll receive a small award per credit hour based on the type of program and institution you attend. However, you’ll need to have taken career education or CAPE courses in high school to qualify.


    Benacquisto Scholarship

    Amount

    Up to 100% of the in-state cost of attendance minus any awards you’ve already received through Bright Futures or the National Merit Scholarship

    Eligibility requirements

    Florida residents need to meet the following criteria:

    • Earned a Florida high school diploma or its equivalent
    • National Merit Scholar
    • Enrolled at an eligible Florida school for the academic year following high school graduation

    Non-Florida residents need to meet the following criteria:

    • Earned a high school diploma comparable to the standard Florida diploma
    • National Merit Scholar
    • Enrolled at an eligible Florida school for the academic year following high school graduation
    • Live on or near the school’s campus where you’re enrolled

    General eligibility criteria include:

    • US citizen or eligible noncitizen
    • Enrolled full time in a bachelor’s degree program — at least 12 credit hours per semester

    National Merit Scholars who want to attend school in Florida have a chance at the Benacquisto Scholarship. It covers up to 100% of the in-state cost of attendance after any awards you’ve received through Bright Futures or the National Merit Scholarship have been applied. And the best part? You don’t have to be a Florida resident to qualify — you just need to be enrolled at an eligible Florida school.


    Top Florida grants for school

    Florida grants provide free assistance to residents of the state who meet certain requirements, including financial need.

    Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant

    Amount

    Grant amounts vary each year.

    Eligibility requirements

    To qualify for the ABLE Grant, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Florida resident
    • Attend eligible private Florida college or university
    • Enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester
    • Pursing bachelor’s degree in any subject except theology or divinity
    • No previously earned bachelor’s degree
    • No defaults or refunds owed on state or federal grants, loans or scholarships
    • Meet Florida’s general eligibility requirements for receiving financial aid
    • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

    To renew the ABLE Grant, you need to:

    • Earn a 2.0 GPA each semester
    • Complete at least 12 credit hours each semester.

    Your college or university may have additional criteria you need to meet in order to renew the ABLE Grant.

    Florida students who want to attend a private college or university may be eligible for the ABLE Grant. The exact amount varies yearly, and eligibility is determined by the institution you attend, not the state of Florida.


    Florida Student Assistance Grant Program

    Amount

    Grant amounts vary by school.

    Eligibility requirements

    To qualify for the Florida Student Assistance Grant Program, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Florida resident
    • Demonstrate significant financial need
    • Enrolled in six or 12 credit hours per semester at a Florida college or university — depending on the grant
    • No previously earned bachelor’s degree
    • Meet Florida’s general eligibility requirements for receiving financial aid
    • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

    Your school may have additional requirements.

    The Florida Student Assistance Grant (FSAG) Program is a need-based program that offers four different grants to Florida residents pursuing postsecondary education at a Florida school. These include:

    • Florida Public Student Assistance Grant: Available to students attending a state university or Florida college — including community colleges
    • Florida Private Student Assistance Grant: Available to students attending an eligible Florida private, nonprofit, four-year college or university
    • Florida Postsecondary Student Assistance Grant: Available to students attending an eligible degree-granting private college or university that’s not eligible under the Florida Private Student Assistance Grant
    • Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant: Available to students attending an eligible and participating Florida college, community college or career center operated by a district school board

    The specific amount you receive — as well as your eligibility — is determined by the institution you’re attending.


    First Generation Matching Grant Program

    Amount

    Grant amounts vary by need and school.

    Eligibility requirements

    To qualify for the First Generation Matching Grant Program, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Florida resident
    • First-generation college student
    • Significant financial need
    • Accepted to a Florida state university, college or community college
    • Enrolled in at least six credit hours as a degree-seeking undergraduate
    • No previously earned bachelor’s degree
    • No defaults or refunds owed on state or federal grants, loans or scholarships
    • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

    You may also need to meet other requirements determined by the school you’re attending.

    The First Generation Matching Grant (FGMG) is meant for first-generation college students who plan on attending a Florida state university, college or community college. Grants are given based on financial need, and your school will determine the award amount, application process and deadline.


    José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

    Amount$1,000 per semester
    Eligibility requirements

    To qualify for the José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Florida resident
    • Of Spanish culture, born in or have parents who were born in Mexico or a Spanish-speaking country of the Caribbean, Central America or South America
    • Demonstrate at least $2,000 of financial need
    • Earn a 3.0 GPA toward a high school diploma OR undergraduate degree
    • Apply during your senior year of high school OR after admission to a graduate program
    • Enrolled in at least 12 credit hours of undergraduate study OR nine credit hours of graduate study
    • No previously earned bachelor’s degree — if applying for an undergraduate grant
    • No defaults or refunds owed on state or federal grants, loans or scholarships
    • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

    The José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund is a need-based merit scholarship designed to help Florida students of Spanish culture make college more affordable. And unlike many grants, it’s available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

    Do I qualify for Florida scholarships and grants if I go to school out of state?

    Maybe. While the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program is only available to Florida residents, the Benacquisto Scholarship is available to National Merit Scholars from across the country — provided you’re attending an eligible Florida school. However, all of the grants listed on this page require you to be a Florida resident.

    Other ways to pay for school in Florida

    State scholarships and grants aren’t the only way to make your education more affordable: You may also want to consider federal grants, university scholarships and student loans.

    Federal and college scholarships and grants

    For students from low-income families, there are multiple federal grants available to help bridge the gap without having to take on debt. And no matter which school you attend, check for scholarships. The University of Florida has a number of both need- and merit-based scholarships available to students, as does the University of South Florida.

    Federal and private student loans

    If scholarships and grants aren’t enough, it may be time to research your student loan options. Start with federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans first — they tend to have the lowest rates — before moving on to your private options. Consider the deferment and forbearance options available when comparing lenders, on top of the overall cost of the loan.

    Compare private student loan providers

    Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

    Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
    EDvestinU Private Student Loans
    4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
    675
    $1,000 - $200,000
    7 to 20 years
    Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
    CommonBond Private Student Loans
    3.74% to 10.74%
    700
    $5,000 - $500,000
    5 to 15 years
    Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
    Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
    Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
    Starting at 0.99% with autopay
    Good to excellent credit
    Starting at $1,000
    5 to 20 years
    Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Explore scholarships, student loans and grants in other states

    Bottom line

    High-achieving Florida high school graduates attending college in the state may be able to get up to 100% of their tuition and fees paid for. And on top of that, there are several other scholarship and grant opportunities available to Florida residents based on both merit and financial need.

    Exhausted all of your state-funded options? Read our guide to student loans to find other ways to pay for school.

    Frequently asked questions

    Will I need to fill out the Florida financial aid application (FFAA)?

    Yes. Almost every scholarship and grant from the state of Florida requires students to fill out the FFAA.

    What are considered applicable fees for the FAS and FMS scholarships?

    According to the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance, the FAS and FMS awards cover the following fees that may be charged by your postsecondary institution:

    • Activity and service fee
    • Health fee
    • Athletic fee
    • Financial aid fee
    • Capital improvement fee
    • Campus access or transportation fee
    • Technology fee
    • Tuition differential fee

    Where can I find the Florida Bright Futures application?

    You can find the Florida financial aid application — which doubles as the application for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program — on the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance website.

    When do my funds from the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship get disbursed?

    You don’t receive the funds directly from the Florida Department of Education. Instead, your school’s financial aid office calculates the funds you’re eligible for and disburses them at the end of the drop/add period each semester.

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