January 22, 2018

Bright Futures Scholarship

Hello high school seniors in Florida!  The Florida Student Financial Aid application is now opened, so you can begin the paperwork process to apply for your Bright Futures Scholarship.

Bright Futures

Your future is looking pretty bright!

If you are registered as a homeschooler with your county, you can find the instructions for filing your Bright Futures application HERE. There are five basic steps that must be completed prior to high school graduation:

1. File the Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA)

Filling out this application gives Tallahassee the information that they need to start processing your Bright Futures paperwork.  Even if you do not believe your student will qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship, you will find there are at least eleven other grants and scholarships available to Florida residents, so still take a few moments to fill this out.  [Many of these awards are available to continuing college students, so be sure that everyone in your family who will be in college next year completes this application.]

2. Obtain sufficient test scores on the SAT or ACT.

You may continue to take the SAT or ACT throughout this year.  Tests must be taken by June 30th in order to be considered for the beginning of the academic awards year.  You must authorize that your test scores be released to at least one state university or state college so that they will be available in the system for the Bright Futures office to retrieve.  For high school students graduating in 2017, minimum test scores to qualify for Bright Futures are:

Florida Academic Scholar:  Public/Private school  SAT: 1290/ACT: 29
Florida Academic Scholar: Homeschooled SAT: 1290/ACT: 29
Florida Medallion Scholar: Public/Private school  SAT: 1170/ACT: 26
Florida Medallion Scholar: Homeschooled  SAT: 1170/ACT: 26

Bright Futures does not look at the Writing Section score of the SAT or the ACT.  Bright Futures will combine different sections of the same test for a super-score, but does not combine the older SAT with the new redesigned SAT scores.

3. The Question of Transcripts.

There is a little confusion when you read through the Bright Futures website because it states that a parent-generated transcript will not be accepted for Bright Futures evaluation, yet if a student is strictly schooled at home, there is no other transcript.  If your student has sufficient test scores to qualify for the Bright Futures award, then NO transcript is necessary.  However, if you are endeavoring to validate college preparatory course work in order to use the lower test score requirement above, you will need to obtain an official transcript(s) from a public or private school, FLVS or a state college if your student was dual enrolled.  It is okay to use multiple resources to amass the 16 core credits – you will just need to submit separate official transcripts from each provider.

4. District Confirmation of Registration.

Remember that in order to qualify for Bright Futures, homeschooled students must be registered with the county in both 11th and 12th grades.  Once you complete the FFAA listed above, Tallahassee will check with your county to verify your registration.  As long as you have continued to submit your annual paperwork, you should be fine, but it doesn’t hurt to give your local office a call to be sure they have you in their system.

5. Community Service Hours Documentation.

Each individual county is responsible for verifying that homeschooled students met the minimum community service hours requirements.  For the FAS, students should have a minimum of 100 hours; for the FMS the requirement is 75 hours.  Contact your homeschooling district representative now to determine how they want you to submit your hours and their deadline for paperwork.

If you are not registered with the county as a homeschooler and have chosen to school under a private school, you will still need to complete the Florida Student Financial Aid application and your school will be responsible for filing the Bright Futures paperwork with Tallahassee.  Be sure to get with your school administrator to see what they need from you to begin this process.

You will also want to file the FAFSA application when it opens in the fall – I’ll keep you posted on that one!

~to your success

Joanne

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

  1. Silly question, but what is the date of this article?

    I have a homeschooler legally registered with our county, who has met the ACT requirement for FAS. He does have DE credits (13 hours so far), but before that we just have our parent transcript.

    Just trying to see if we have a shot at Bright Futures FAS (he still needs service hours but we can get those I think). Their refusal to accept a parent transcript threw me for a loop.

    He graduates May, 2016.

    Thank you!

    • Hey Angela!

      This post was originally written early 2014, but other than the dates, the rest of the information still stands. There may be a change in test scores when the redesigned SAT rolls out next year, but that is yet to be seen. As noted, Bright Futures does not accept parent-generated transcripts, but the good news is that homeschooled students are not required to submit transcripts – AT ALL.

      If, however, you’d like to qualify for the FAS using the lower test score used by private and public school students, then the student must complete the 16 core courses with FLVS, dual enrolled or with a public/private school. And in that case, you would then submit transcripts from those institutions.

      You don’t say what your son’s test scores are – but as long as he has the minimum for homeschooled students – then no need to submit a transcript. 🙂 Hope this helps!

      ~~ Joanne

  2. Belinda Stephens says:

    Hi Joanne,
    Could you please address the Bright Futures Top Scholar Award? My students have been homeschooled exclusively. My son, who is a senior, qualifies for Academic Scholar. As our county is not a high-achieving one, I think he might have a shot at the Top Scholar Award, but, since they use the transcript, and they don’t accept parent-generated transcripts, I don’t see any way for him to qualify. Any information you could supply would be helpful. Thank you.

    • Hi Brenda –

      The Florida Bright Futures program offers a Top Scholar Award. This is bonus money added to the student’s Bright Futures scholarship and it is offered one Florida Academic Scholar per county. It is given to the student with the highest ranking based on their GPA and SAT/ACT score (from one sitting).

      In order for homeschooling students to qualify, they must prove GPA from officially documented sources, that is, FLVS, DOE-private or public schools or via dual enrollment and they would then submit those sealed transcripts.

      If you believe your student could be a contender for the Top Scholar award and you can document your GPA in such a way, you should let the Bright Futures office know that you are interested in being considered when you file your paperwork December of your senior year. (1-888-827-2004)

      If you are unable to document your GPA in this manner, you cannot contend for this scholarship as a homeschooled student.

      Hope this helps!

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