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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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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Explore scholarships, student loans and grants in other states
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.
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