Bright Futures Scholarship 101
- Click here for general information about the guaranteed Bright Futures Scholarship, pending the student meets eligibility requirements.
- Students can submit paystubs for work hours or traditional volunteer hours. Eligibility will only be determined by one type of hours or the other. See memo below for more details.
- Students must also APPLY for the scholarship by submitting the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) no earlier than October 1st of their senior year and no later than August 31 after high school graduation. (Click here for FFAA application resources).
- Students who do not complete the FFAA application will not be assessed by the state for scholarship eligibility.
- Students must also select at least one Florida public university to receive their SAT & ACT scores each time they test to have those scores sent to the state repository for Bright Futures eligibility. During the final eligiblity determination, the state super scores (combines the highest scores from each test taken) to determine scholarship recipient eligibility.
*Bright Futures Community Service Form–Complete & submit to your school designee, along with your hours or paystubs. Required for all Bright Futures Service Hours completed on August 16, 2021 or after.
*Click here to see the memo sent to all families of 9th-12th grade students regarding the new acceptance of paid work hours completed July 1, 2022 and after for the Bright Futures Scholarship.*
*Donations and the donations form that was used in the 20-21 school year will no longer be accepted for service hours. This was a temporary provision when no in-person volunteer opportunities were available for students.*
*Students can now check the number of community service hours they have in HAC.*
- For students submitting hours from a non-profit organization outside of the school, students should also provide a letter on the non-profit organization’s letterhead which details the student’s service hours, activities, dates and supervisor signature.
- Students completing activities that are not in accordance with St. Johns County Service Hours Guidelines, per the St. Johns County School District Bright Futures Community Service Hours Form (linked above), will not have those hours added to their transcript for the Bright Futures Scholarship, but students can add those hours to their resume for college/job/internship applications or other scholarships.
- If the student is unsure whether the service activity meets St. Johns County School District requirements, the student should check with their school counselor or school community service hours designee before completing the hours.
Steps to Successful Volunteering
- Aim to complete 25 hours of community service or paid work hours each year of high school to have the 100 hours needed for the Bright Futures Academic Scholarship.
- Service hours for Bright Futures will count starting the summer before 9th grade. Any hours completed before that time will not count towards the Bright Futures Scholarship.
- Community service hours are not a requirement to graduate high school but can be helpful to students in discovering careers of interest, demonstrating leadership skills for resumes and scholarships, and most importantly, giving back to their community.
- Community service projects should benefit the entire community. This means that community service for events such as dances, carnivals, festivals, summer programs, etc. must be open to everyone, including those outside of a neighborhood or organization, and not require payment to participate in the event.
- Service completed must be done under the supervision of a staff member who is not related to the student and at a service location outside of the student’s home. For example, fostering animals, hosting a foreign exchange student, or turning in supplies, canned goods, etc. to claim hours are not eligible activities.
Local Community Service Opportunities:
- Meals on Wheels
- American Red Cross
- United Way
- Hugs Across the County – Sign up to volunteer here. Opportunities include sorting clothes donations, food, and more. Email [email protected] or call 904-580-4847 with questions.
*If volunteering at a St. Johns County School, students must sign in and sign out of KeepNTrack in the school’s front office to have community service hours verified by the district.*
Virtual Service Hours Opportunities
Please submit hours for completing pre-approved virtual community service projects from the list below to your high school as you would for a face-to-face service activity. Procedures for submitting hours can be found on your school’s School Counseling website. Face-to-face activities are still acceptable to submit hours for, and information on those can be found in the Local Service Opportunities list below or any activity pre-approved by your school
Brooks Rehabilitation Virtual Volunteer Opportunities
Complete a variety of activities virtually to gain volunteer hours including: calling residents in Brooks Rehabilitation, creating an educational video, recording yourself singing, dancing, etc., creating a card, being a virtual exercise companion or leading a weekly book club over Zoom.
Peer Disability Inclusion Training
Learn how wonderful it is to include and advocate for a friend with a disability and earn service hours. The Peer Disability Inclusion training program consists of online training, spending time with an individual with a disability (this can also be done virtually), and advocating for them. By completing the 6 steps of the peer disability inclusion training program, you can earn 6 service hours. Additional hours can be earned for more time spent including and advocating for an individual with a disability. The website for the program is: www.peerdisabilityinclusion.com
Please contact [email protected] with any questions and when you have finished the training so that you can get your hours. A representative of the Florida Inclusion Network will sign off on your service hours form.