The Bright Futures Scholarship is a lottery-funded merit scholarship awarded to eligible Florida graduates who are entering degree, certificate or technology programs at eligible Florida public or private colleges or universities.
Eligible homeschool graduates may apply to receive the Bright Futures Scholarship, too. Applications are typically due at the end of August of their Senior year of high school, but preparation to become eligible can begin as early as 9th grade.
Eligibility for Bright Futures is published annually in the Handbook. The Handbook is located on the Florida Student Financial Aid website.
Because annual eligibility requirements can change, it's important for Seniors to seek the most current edition of the Handbook and be sure they meet the eligibility requirements for that particular year. Homeschool eligibility falls under the section entitled, "Non-Traditional Students".
In general, homeschool eligibility for Bright Futures is based on:
meeting general scholarship requirements (Florida resident, meet deadline, and so on);
submitting the Florida financial aid application (a specific Florida application called FFAA);
earning the minimum required SAT or ACT test score and having the score sent to a Florida college in the State University System; and
completing the minimum number of required community service hours by the time of application.
Of special note, homeschoolers should be registered as home education students for the current and prior year, that is, 11th and 12th grades.
Students thinking about applying to Florida colleges or universities are encouraged to learn about Florida Bright Futures requirements early on, so that eligibility requirements can be factored into the high school plan. In this way, high schoolers can be sure they've taken the necessary coursework or acquired the necessary skills to succeed on the SAT or ACT. By planning early, they will also have ample time to complete the required number of service hours by the application deadline.
For additional information about the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, go to Florida Student Financial Aid.
For guidance on meeting high school requirements and planning for a successful Bright Futures application, consult the experts at Florida Homeschool Association for assistance.