Timothy Peck 8 min read Financial Aid, Scholarships

10 Florida Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College

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Looking for scholarships as a Florida resident? Luckily, there are great opportunities available just to you.

 

While many college-bound students are familiar with high-profile national competitions like the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway, there are a multitude of smaller scholarships and regional awards. Below is a list of some excellent scholarships available to high school students in Florida, with awards for everything from academics to essays to being a child of divorce. 

 

10 Best Scholarships for Florida High School Students

 

1. Selby Scholarship

Amount: $7,000

Deadline: March 25, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • Graduating senior from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, or DeSoto county 
  • Graduating Associate degree students from State College of Florida (SCF), Edison, or South Florida Community College
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (unweighted)

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • ACT or SAT scores
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers and community members demonstrating personal growth potential 
  • Essay describing your personal values and future plans  

 

The Selby Scholarship was founded in the 1950s due to William G. Selby’s desire to help the young men he encountered in his oil business, whose futures were hampered by their lack of education. Since then, the Selby Scholarship has helped thousands of young people unlock their potential. More than just a scholarship, this opportunity also provides mentorship to recipients. Winners will attend the Selby Scholar Symposium, where they’re paired with community leaders working in their chosen fields—providing them with an opportunity to network and learn more about potential career paths. 

 

2. South Florida Fair Scholarship

Amount: $6,000

Deadline: 2020 TBD

Eligibility: 

  • Permanent resident of Florida, residing in Broward, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee, or Palm Beach county 
  • Completed junior year of high school

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • 200-word or fewer essay using the prompt, As a graduating senior, what advice would you have given yourself as an incoming high school freshman?
  • Additional consideration is given for applicants who participate in, or have previously participated in, the South Florida Fair

 

The South Florida Fair awards $45,000 annually to worthy South Florida students with a desire to further their education, but might not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue one. More than $500,000 had been awarded since the scholarship’s inception in 1982. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee that evaluates your transcript, essay, letters of recommendation, academic honors, extracurricular activities, community service, and volunteer involvement with the South Florida Fair. 

 

3. The Rick and Sherry Murray Medical Futures Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: July 10, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • Legal resident of Florida
  • Close relative of a person who has been diagnosed with ALS
  • Majoring in any medically-related or social work degree, or attending any medically-related certification programs
  • Attending or accepted to school full-time (as defined by the educational institution) at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university, or vocational-technical school located in the U.S.

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Summary of extracurricular activities
  • Brief statement of short- and long-term medical goals
  • 500-word essay describing how your experience with ALS has influenced your decision to enter the medical field

 

Named after Rick and Sherry Murray, tireless advocates for ALS research and awareness, the Rick and Sherry Murray Medical Futures Scholarship is open to relatives of those living with, or who’ve lost their battle with, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Winners of the award have been spurred to enter the medical field and make a difference in the lives of future patients as the result of their encounter with ALS.

 

4. Mary McLeod Bethune (MMB) Scholarship Program

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: Varies

Eligibility: 

  • Florida resident
  • U.S. Citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (unweighted)
  • Enrolled at Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, Florida A&M University, or Florida Memorial University as a degree-seeking undergraduate student for a minimum of 12 credit hours per term or the equivalent

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Demonstrate financial need as specified by the participating institution
  • Not have already earned a Bachelor’s degree

 

The Mary McLeod Bethune (MMB) Scholarship was founded to provide financial assistance to undergraduate students with a financial need that meet academic requirements. The scholarship is operated in conjunction with four institutions—Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, Florida A&M University, and Florida Memorial University—each of which has its own unique application procedures, deadlines, and eligibility requirements. Recipients are chosen on the basis of financial need, and if further distinguishing criteria is necessary, GPA is used. 

 

5. Central Florida Jazz Society (CFJS) Scholarship Competition 

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: March 15, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • Resident of (or attend/plan to attend a college in) Central Florida: Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, or Volusia counties
  • High school senior or student in the first three years of college
  • Interested in furthering their study of jazz music

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Audition audio or video containing one or two brief musical selections: a slow number and a fast number
  • A letter of recommendation that speaks to your musicianship, study of jazz, and character

 

Ten finalists are selected from the applicants to participate in the CFJS Scholarship Competition. Those 10 finalists will play with a rhythm section of professional musicians and get scored by judges to determine the winner. In addition to the grand prize of $2,500, the CFJS Scholarship Competition offers four other awards—one worth $2,000, one worth $1,500, and two valued at $1,000. Prize money may be used for tuition, or for the purchase/repair of a musical instrument needed for educational purposes.  

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We'll help you negotiate a better price from your two favorite colleges. Last year, a few of our students even saved more than $100,000 on the total cost of their education (more than $25,000 per year).

6. Airgas – Terry Jarvis Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: February 19, 2021

Eligibility: 

  • 18 years old or older
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 2.8 GPA with a 3.0 GPA in engineering courses
  • U.S. or Canadian citizen planning to attend an academic institution in the U.S or Canada

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Priority is given to those with an interest in pursuing a career with an industrial gas or welding equipment distributor—demonstrated by prior work experience, clubs, organizations, or extracurricular activities
  • Priority is given to residents of, or students attending school in, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida  

 

Named in honor of Airgas employee Terry Jarvis, who passed away at the age of 39, the Airgas – Terry Jarvis Memorial Scholarship encourages students to pursue a career in industrial gas, or with a welding equipment distributor, by funding their education. Although available to students across the country and in Canada, Florida residents and students attending school in Florida are given priority by the selection committee. 

 

7. Suncoast Credit Union Scholars Program 

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: Varies depending on district—find a comprehensive list here

Eligibility: 

  • High school senior in one of the 21 counties Suncoast Credit Union serves
  • Planning to enroll in an accredited four-year college/university, two-year college, or technical school in Florida
  • U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or eligible noncitizen
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA (unweighted)
  • Qualify to receive a Federal Pell Grant 

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • FAFSA
  • 500-word or less essay that answers the following two questions:
    • What are your aspirations for your education?
    • When you look back on your life in thirty years, what would it take for you to consider this successful? 

 

Since 1990, Suncoast Credit Union has provided more than $1.4 million in scholarships to high-achieving students with a demonstrated financial need. For 2020, the Tampa-based Credit Union will award 58 $2,000 scholarships in the 21 counties they serve, granted to students planning to attend college or university in Florida. 

 

8. PFLAG of Jacksonville Scholarship Program 

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: June 1, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • LGBT+ student 16 years of age or older
  • Completed high school by June 2020
  • Lived in the Jacksonville metropolitan area (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties) for the past two years or currently attending a college or university in the same area  
  • Will be registered for full-time attendance at a post-secondary educational institution by August 1, 2020

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • C or higher grades
  • 3 reference letters (2 from teachers, school counselors, school administrators, employers, or agency leaders and 1 from family member or friend)
  • 5 essay questions
  • Participation and leadership in school and the community
  • Maturity and a positive sense of self as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person
  • Service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community
  • Financial need 

 

The PFLAG of Jacksonville Scholarship Program selects 12 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBT+) scholars from the Jacksonville metropolitan area (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties) to receive a scholarship for their pursuit of post-secondary education. Scholars are required to participate in efforts to educate the general public, which may entail disclosing your LGBT+ identity in press releases and media. Scholars will also need to deliver a brief (3-5 minute) speech at the annual PFLAG Scholarship Ceremony.

 

9. Ayo & Iken Children of Divorce Scholarship 

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: TBD

Eligibility: 

  • Senior attending high school in Florida
  • Plan to pursue a post-high school education 
  • U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or eligible noncitizen
  • Live in a house separated by divorce 

 

Application Requirements: 

  • 2,000-word essay describing how your parents continue to work together despite being part of a separated household; your essay must describe in detail how your parents overcame obstacles and remained excellent role models
  • Personal letter stating your interest

 

The Ayo & Iken Children of Divorce Scholarship is designed to recognize divorced parents who raise children as a team, despite the challenges presented by a separated household. The scholarship winner is selected via an essay contest, judged by a committee of child custody attorneys. Strong essays will show how your parents communicated post-divorce, worked together, and ensured you grew up in a loving household. 

 

10. Florida Futures Essay Competition  

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: TBD

Eligibility: 

  • Senior attending high school in Florida

 

Application Requirements: 

  • 1,250-word essay 

 

Billed as a scholarship competition like no other, the Florida Futures Essay Competition believes in three tenets: bold ideas for a brighter future, students’ ideas deserve to be heard, and challenges should be met head-on. The essay prompts change year to year, but they’re always focused on solutions to the large-scale issues facing the Sunshine State, with particular attention paid to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

 

11. The Southern Scholarship Foundation   

Amount: Rent-free housing 

Deadline: April 1, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • 3.0 unweighted state GPA or 675 GED score
  • Attending Flagler College – Tallahassee, Florida A&M, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida State University, Santa Fe College, Tallahassee Community College, or the University of Florida

 

Application Requirements: 

  • FAFSA
  • Letter of recommendation (letters from family or friends not accepted)

 

One of the more unique scholarships you’ll find, the Southern Scholarship Foundation provides rent-free housing and cooperative living to high-achieving, high-character students attending institutions of higher education and lacking financial resources. Although the Southern Scholarship Foundation doesn’t provide monetary awards, based on 2019 data, the average recipient saved over $13,000 in living expenses. Currently, the Southern Scholarship Foundation has 26 homes in Florida serving 470 students. 

 

5 Tips for Applying to Scholarships

 

1. Find a Scholarship that Fits You

 

The list above includes scholarships for academic excellence, essays, musical skill, being a child of divorce, and financial need. Find scholarships that meet your unique situations (experiences, skills, and interests) and apply for them.

 

2. Research Past Winners

 

The businesses and foundations that sponsor scholarships are proud of their recipients; consequently, most scholarships post past winners and often their essays or other submissions online. Take a look at past winners, their submissions, and their interests to get a better feel for the type of applicant that the scholarship is looking for. 

 

3. Stand Out 

 

Your essay, a short personal description, your letters of recommendation, or your musical number—these are your opportunities to stand out. Highlight what makes you unique, what you’re passionate about, what your plans are, the challenges you’ve faced, and how the award will affect your life. People want to award scholarships to students who are going to go on and do good things, so convince them that you’re that person! 

 

4. Find Advocates

 

Sometimes it’s not what you say, but what others say about you that sway scholarship providers. Find people who are advocates for you and your future, who know you well, will speak to your accomplishments, and highlight your unique qualities. Remember, it’s common courtesy to give them a month to write your letter of recommendation (plus, this isn’t something you want them to rush). 

 

5. Avoid Silly Mistakes

 

You’ve researched a scholarship, filled out an application, solicited a letter of recommendation, and written an essay—don’t let all of that work get undone by silly mistakes. Before hitting “send” or mailing it in, make sure you’ve filled out every section of the application and included all required materials. Similarly, proofread your work to ensure there are no spelling, punctuation, or grammatical mistakes. Even better, get a family member, friend, or teacher to look everything over for you. 

 

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.