5 Best Scholarships for Florida Students

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Florida ranks No. 45 in average student loan debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, which shows how many Sunshine State students are applying for grants and scholarships.

While there are many Florida grants available for you to check out, you should also consider scholarships.

For most Florida scholarships, you’ll complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For others, you’ll need to submit a Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA). Here are some of the best Florida scholarships you can get.

1. Bright Futures Scholarship Program

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program awards residents who earned a high school diploma (or equivalent) in Florida and are enrolled in a postsecondary education in the state. Options for out-of-state and home-schooled students are also available.

Requirements: For the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award, you’ll need 100 service hours, a 3.5 GPA, and at least a 29 on your ACT or 1290 on your SAT. For the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award, you’ll need 75 service hours, a 3.0 GPA, and at least a 26 on your ACT or 1170 on your SAT. You’ll also need to complete the FFAA.

Award amount: These vary by award level. For the FAS award, 100% of tuition and applicable fees are covered. For the FMS award, you receive $77 per credit hour each semester at a four-year institution.

How to apply: Check your eligibility and apply through Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Programs.

2. Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program

If you’re attending or planning to attend Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, Florida A&M University (FAMU), or Florida Memorial University, you might qualify for the Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program.

Requirements: You’ll need to be a Florida resident who doesn’t have any loans in default. You’ll also need to be enrolled full time at a participating college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Award amount: Each institution determines the award amount based on the requirements met and financial need of applicants.

How to apply: You can apply through each participating institution’s financial aid office. At FAMU, for example, the deadline is Aug. 12.

3. Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program

This scholarship, funded by the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers (FFMT), is available for black, Hispanic, Asian-American, and Native American students at more than 35 institutions in the state.

Requirements: You’ll need to reside in Florida and have less than 18 upper-division education courses completed at the time of applying. You’ll also need to belong to one of the previously mentioned racial groups. You must teach in a Florida public school for the same number of years you received funding. To continue receiving the award annually, you’ll need to attend Annual Teacher Recruitment and Retention Symposiums and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.

Award amount: You’ll receive $4,000, or $2,000 for each semester.

How to apply: You can apply through the FFMT website.

4. Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans

Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans are available to children and spouses who are dependents of a qualified veteran.

Requirements: The award is available to children of veterans who are 16 to 22 years old. Spouses of deceased veterans must not have remarried, and have to apply within five years of the veteran’s death. All applicants must be Florida residents and not have any defaulted loans. Students must take at least six credit hours and have a 2.0 GPA for the award to be renewed.

Award amount: The exact amount varies depending on institution and enrollment status, but it’s 100% of tuition and registration fees wherever you go.

How to apply: Complete the FFAA.

5. Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

The Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund is available to Hispanic students who will attend public or eligible private postsecondary institutions.

Make sure your institution is eligible. Applicants are ranked first by need as determined by the FAFSA, second by GPA, and then by submission date. The sooner you apply, the higher your chances of being considered.

Requirements: This award is available to students who are either Spanish or have parents that were born in Mexico, certain countries of the Caribbean, Central America, or South America. Brazil is excluded. You’ll need to have a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need. You can’t have any loans in default and must be a Florida resident regardless of citizenship. If you’re an undergrad, you’ll need to apply your senior year of high school.

Award amount: You’ll receive $2,000, or $1,000 for each semester.

How to apply: Complete the FAFSA and FFAA.

Beyond Florida scholarships

If you’re struggling to find Florida scholarships for which you qualify, you can still get money for school. Here are a few other places to look:

  • Explore free money at the local level. Sometimes colleges give out scholarships and grants that you can apply for separately from other awards. Also look to see if local organizations provide scholarships. Usually, the ones that don’t get a lot of attention are the ones you’re more likely to get, so do your best to find the hidden gems.
  • Get federal loans. When you complete your FAFSA, you’ll know how much federal aid you get alongside your grants and scholarships. Federal student loans have some of the lowest interest rates and friendliest repayment terms and are a good resource when you need to borrow money.
  • Consider private student loans. If you’re short on cash and still need money to pay for school, check out the best private student loans to see if any can help you.

Even though affording college costs can seem expensive and stressful, there are plenty of ways you can get cash. Florida scholarships, grants, and anywhere you can get money you don’t have to give back should be your first stop. Free is best, so try your best to get as much as you can.

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.