Attention High School Seniors! Did you complete your service hours to qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship? If you did not, you need to start calling a lot of people to get help – NOW.
The Florida Bright Future Scholarship requires a minimum of 75 or 100 service hours in addition to a required grade point average (GPA) and test score (ACT or SAT).
The Florida Department of Education has stated that, “Eligibility for Florida Bright Futures scholarships shall be based on available data and results. Tests that were not available to be taken shall not be counted.” (http://www.fldoe.org/newsroom/latest-news/florida-department-of-education-announces-additional-guidance-for-the-2019-20-school-year.stml) So what does that mean?
It means that high school seniors need pass all courses to meet the required number of credits and graduate. It means graduates need to meet the minimum GPA (with all grades final). It means SAT or ACT scores achieved before exam cancellations in March, May, and June will be used. And service hours?
The Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Program informed me over telephone that all students applying to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship SHOULD have their service hours completed by now. However, the Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Program is still waiting for guidance – meaning, the requirement could change. You MAY still have an opportunity to complete your hours or you may qualify with the hours you already have. Got that? It is undecided.
High school seniors complete school by June and have until August 31st to submit The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship application with all requirements met. There are no more opportunities to take the SAT or ACT by that deadline. But, can you still complete service hours during the pandemic? What do you do if you do not think you will make it?
First, contact your college and explain your issues and follow their guidance. Second, contact the Florida Student Scholarship and Grant Program (1-888-827–2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask for their advice on what you should do. Third, contact all your elected officials (https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx) as well as your school board representative (http://www.dadeschools.net/schoolboard/bdmembers.asp) and ask them to please fight for students in your situation. These elected officials will not be able to change the requirements, but they can strongly advocate for a change and for exceptions.
Finally, stay tuned to all announcements – this pandemic is constantly changing policy and procedures. When you learn of a new requirement or possibility, act on it right away.