The Sunshine State is more than just theme parks and beautiful beaches. Florida is also home to top-notch colleges and universities. However, many students struggle to pay for school because of the high cost of tuition and are unaware of the Florida grants available.
That’s because many students miss out on financial aid they’re eligible to receive, according to the Florida College Access Network. Florida is No. 34 in the country when it comes to completion rates for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. Without completing the FAFSA, students are ineligible to receive certain types of aid, including grants offered by the federal government and the state.
That’s a big problem since grants, unlike student loans, are a form of free money you usually don’t have to repay. You can use one of these Florida grants to save money on your education.
5 Florida grants for college students
Beyond federal opportunities like Pell Grants, Florida residents are eligible for five state-offered grants.
1. Access to Better Learning and Education Grant Program
The Access to Better Learning and Education Grant is for Florida residents who choose to go to one of 15 eligible private colleges or universities that are part of the program. Eligible students can receive up to $1,500 in tuition assistance.
To qualify, students must be Florida residents and be either U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens. Applicants must not be in default on their current student loans and must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree for the first time. The grant is renewable for each year you’re in school. However, you must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
To apply, contact the financial aid office of one of the participating schools.
2. First Generation Matching Grant
The First Generation Matching Grant was designed to help first-generation college students pay for school. The amount you receive is at the college’s discretion, but eligible students can receive enough money to cover the full cost of tuition.
It’s a need-based grant, and you’ll be considered a first-generation student if neither of your parents earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. You must enroll in one of the participating schools and demonstrate financial need by completing the FAFSA.
Each school might have additional requirements, so you should contact the financial aid office to find out the institution’s criteria.
3. Effective Access to Student Education Program
The Effective Access to Student Education Program, formerly the Florida Resident Access Grant, provides tuition assistance to students attending one of 34 participating private and nonprofit universities. Those schools will have their own application procedures, deadlines, award amounts, and eligibility requirements.
In general, students must be pursuing their first bachelor’s degree and taking at least 12 credit hours per term. Students enrolled in degree programs in theology or divinity are not eligible for the program.
To apply, contact the participating school’s financial aid office.
4. Florida Student Assistance Grant
The Florida Student Assistance Grant is for students who can demonstrate a substantial financial need. There are four versions:
Florida Public Student Assistance Grant: for students who attend state universities or public community colleges
Florida Private Student Assistance Grant: for students who attend private, nonprofit colleges or universities
Florida Postsecondary Student Assistance Grant: for students who attend degree-granting private colleges but are ineligible for the Florida Private Student Assistance Grant
Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant: for students who attend a participating public community college or career center
The amount of the award, applicant eligibility, and deadlines are set by the participating schools. The annual award can vary year to year. Currently, the minimum is $200, but the grant can be large enough to cover the full cost of tuition and fees.
To qualify, students must show financial need by completing and submitting their FAFSA. Then, they must contact the school’s financial aid office to complete their application.
5. José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund
The José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund gives Hispanic students with a demonstrated financial need $2,000 to help cover the cost of tuition and fees.
To qualify, you or one of your parents must have been born in Mexico or a Hispanic country in the Caribbean, Central America, or South America. You must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA by the end of your seventh semester of high school.
Unlike for other grants, completing the FAFSA is not enough to be considered for this award. You also must complete the Florida Financial Aid Application. The state’s Department of Education will use these forms to determine your need before issuing a grant.
Paying for college
Although these five Florida grants can help you reduce your education costs, you might need to turn to student loans to cover the total cost of attendance. It’s wise to consider federal and private student loans to find an affordable option that works for you. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our list of the best private student loan lenders.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 11/1/2018. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.94% – 12.78%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.04% – 13.04%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.34% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 10.98%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 13.13%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.92% – 10.01%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.72% – 9.68%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.26% – 12.13%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|