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!
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