5 College Scholarships in Florida Worth Applying for

February 23, 2021 Loans & Finance

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 state grants available, you should also consider scholarships in Florida.

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). If you’re looking for the best scholarships in Florida, here are five to consider:

1. Bright Futures Scholarship Program
2. Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program
3. Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program
4. Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans
5. José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund
● Plus: Look for more scholarships in Florida and beyond

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 1330 on your SAT. For the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award, you’ll need 75 service hours, a 3.0 GPA and at least a 25 on your ACT or 1210 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, plus $300. For the FMS award, you receive 75% of tuition and fees.

How to apply: Through Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Programs website.

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: Through each participating institution’s financial aid office.

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 to be considered automatically.

5. José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

The José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund is available to Latino students who will attend public or eligible private postsecondary institutions.

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 Latino or have parents that were born in Mexico, certain countries of the Caribbean, Central America or South America. Brazil, Spain and Haiti are 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

Look for more scholarships in Florida, and beyond

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

Explore 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, 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 that 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.

Read up on scholarships for…
● High school students
● Current college students
● First-generation students
● Asian students
● Black students
● Latino and Hispanic students
● DACA students
● Minority students
● Community service
● Military service
● Professional development
● Single parents
● Single moms
● Student athletes
● Nursing school
● Medical school
● Photography
● Poetry
● Art
● Music
● Communications
● Journalism
● Criminal justice
● Business
● Computer science
● Studying abroad in Japan
● Studying abroad in Canada

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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