The workload that a student encounters in college can be a shock. Add work or family obligations to the course load, and the amount of time a student can devote to studying considerably shrinks. Scholarships can ease the financial stress a student can feel when attempting to pay for college courses, room and board and the other incidentals that come with pursuing a higher education.

The Bright Futures Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship was created by Florida government officials to ease the financial stress of attending college for residents of the state. There are numerous eligibility requirements for this lottery-funded school reward.

What Is the Gold Seal Scholarship?

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program was created by the state’s legislatures in the late ‘90s. The lottery-funded scholarship has three award levels, which are:

  • Academic Scholars
  • Medallion Scholars
  • Gold Seal Vocational Scholars and Gold Seal Cape

Each has its own amount of funding that can change annually.

The scholarship money that deserving students receive originates from the Florida state government. Because of this, qualifying students must be U.S. citizens and current Florida residents.

Eligibility Requirements for the Gold Seal Scholarship

Aside from residing in the state and being a legal U.S. citizen, the following requirements are in place:

  • The student must be a high school senior enrolled at a Florida institution.

  • The student must be involved in a vocational program at the high school or at an accredited vocational school.

  • The parents or guardians of the student must not have previously defaulted or currently be in default on any state or federal loan or with a grant program.

  • The student must complete 30 service hours.

Grade Point Average for Scholarship Consideration

A high grade point average isn’t always necessary, but it doesn’t hurt. The high school senior applying for the Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship needs to have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in vocational classes. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is needed in the career education courses.

If the student receives the scholarship, he needs to maintain a GPA of 2.75 to renew.

Scores Needed to Apply

Upon graduation with a high school diploma or equivalent, the Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship applicants should have earned a 72 in algebra on the Florida College Entry Level Placement Test. They also need a passing score of at least 83 in reading and sentence skills.

If students took the SAT or ACT exams, then they may submit those along with their application.

Classes Needed for Scholarship Consideration

Before applying, the high school graduating student should have earned a minimum of three vocational credits. These need to have been completed in job-preparatory or technology education programs. The credits need to be earned in the same career area.

Gold Seal Scholarship Application

It’s a lengthy process to apply for the funds. To start the process for a Gold Seal Scholarship application, students should obtain a user ID and pin number through the Florida Department of Education if they haven’t already.

They then need to fill out the Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application by August 31 of their senior year in high school. This can be found online at the Florida Student Financial Aid site.

Award Amount for Scholarships

The Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship amount and other Florida Bright Futures funds for the 2018-2019 academic year were:

  • Florida Academic Scholars Award: $212.71 per credit hour

  • Florida Medallion Scholars Award: $159.53 per credit hour

  • Academic Top Scholars Award: $44 per credit hour

  • Gold Seal Vocational Scholars and Gold Seal Cape Scholarship: $39 and $48 per credit hour, respectively

Students may begin to apply after December 1 of their senior year.

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About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.