Financial Aid and Student Loans in Florida

In the state of Florida, the average total cost of attendance at a 4 year college is $29,998, and 44% of college graduates leave school with student loan debt. Luckily, Florida provides prospective college students with opportunities to make college more affordable through in-state scholarship programs and grants.

When thinking about how you will pay for college, we at Funding U have a specific checklist of payment options we recommend that will help you avoid paying too much out of pocket or borrowing more money than you absolutely have to in order to graduate. By having the forethought to pursue opportunities such as scholarships and grants that you or someone you care for might be eligible for, you can significantly lower the cost of college.

The following is an overview of scholarship programs, grant opportunities and student loan assistance to those who reside and attend a college or university in the state of Florida. We also provide information on important dates to keep in mind during the application and admission processes, along with loan forgiveness programs in Florida for those who may find themselves overburdened by student debt.

What Scholarship Programs Does Florida Have?

Florida has a variety of scholarship programs, and it is encouraged to find ones you or your loved one may qualify for to reduce tuition costs. Resources like Fastweb, Niche, and Collegeboard help match students with relevant scholarships and grants nationwide. Below you can find more detailed information on perhaps the four most notable Florida-specific scholarships.

Bright Futures Scholarship Program

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program is for prospective college students who have completed a high school degree or equivalent and enrolled in a continued education program. It is most applicable to those who are residents of the state of Florida, although there are ways for prospective out-of-state students to qualify as well.

The Florida Academic Scholars(FAS) covers all tuition for the student. There are different stages to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. To qualify, applicants must have a:

  • 3.5 GPA or greater
  • 29 or higher on the ACT or 1290 or the SAT 
  • 100 service hours 

The Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) pays $77 per credit hour. FMS requires students to have a:

  • 3.0 GPA or greater
  • Either a 26 on the ACT or 1170 on the SAT
  • 75 or more service hours. 

Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program

The Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program is for students who plan to attend one of the universities below: 

  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • Edward Waters College
  • Florida A&M University (FAMU)
  • Florida Memorial University

To qualify, you must be a resident of Florida, not currently have any student loans in default and have a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Each individual university determines the worth of the scholarship, and you can apply via the financial aid office at the institution you are interested in attending. 

Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans

Florida provides a wonderful opportunity for children who are between the ages of 16 to 22 of a deceased or disabled veteran to get a free education. The scholarship also applies to spouses as well. For eligibility, the child must be between 16 to 22 and take a minimum of 6 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA or greater for renewal of the scholarship. Spouses who are remarried are not eligible for the scholarships.

Keep in mind that the scholarship expires five years after the death or incident that leads to the disability of the veteran so make sure to apply for it in the appropriate time frame. In most instances, this scholarship covers the entire admission and tuition costs, which varies based on the university the individual will attend. 

Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

The Jose Marti Scholarship is for Hispanic students who are residents of the state of Florida (regardless of US citizenship) that are in need of financial assistance. Students are also required to hold a GPA of 3.0 or greater and must not have student loans that are currently in default. Not everyone who applies is accepted, and the preference first goes to applicants who are in financial need (based on FAFSA) and hold a high GPA.

Also, applicants who apply sooner typically have a higher chance of being accepted. It is encouraged for high school students who are interested to apply before the end of their senior year. 

What Grant Programs Does Florida Have?

In addition to scholarships, which is financial assistance provided based on merit, Florida also ensures those who are in need of financial assistance, regardless of merit, have the opportunity to afford post-high school education through grant programs. It is helpful for everyone interested, especially those who may not be able to afford the full tuition of college, to learn about the grants they are eligible for and consider taking steps to ensure they apply properly.

There are numerous grants to consider, and several of the more notable grants are the Florida Student Assistance Grant, Access to Better Learning and Education Grant Program, Effective Access to Student Education Program and the First Generation Matching Grant. 

Florida Student Assistance Grant

The Florida Student Assistance Grant is for students that are in financial need for any reason. The amount awarded to those who qualify is different for each institution. In some instances, it may cover the entire cost of tuition. To be eligible, prospective students must complete their FAFSA registration and contact the institution’s financial aid department. This scholarship is available to every Florida resident who is interested in attending a college or university in Florida, including both public and private institutions. 

Access to Better Learning and Education Grant Program

This grant is for students who plan to attend a private university in Florida. There are approximately fifteen participating private universities that provide financial assistance to Florida citizens who have the intention to attend their university. To be eligible, the prospective student must be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree for the first time and not have student loans in default status. 

Those who qualify must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or greater to continue receiving grant assistance. Eligible students can receive $1,500 or more in grant aid each year. Not every private institution qualifies or offers the Access to Better Learning and Education Grant (ABLE), so be certain to check with your desired institution to find out. 

Effective Access to Student Education Program

The Effective Access to Student Education Program, which was formerly known as the Florida Resident Access Grant, is similar to the ABLE Grant Program. It is for prospective college or university students who plan to attend one of more than thirty private institutions. For eligibility, the applicant must be a resident of the state of Florida, have the intent to pursue a Bachelor’s degree and take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. If accepted, the student must continue taking classes “full time” and maintain a 2.0 or greater GPA. 

First Generation Matching Grant

The First Generation Matching Grant is designed to help prospective college students whose parents did not complete a college education. It is less common for those who do not have a family history of attending college to enroll in a college or university institution, either for financial reasons or the pressure to enter into the workforce at a younger age.

This grant provides financial assistance to these prospective students who do not have parents with a college degree who are interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. Although each institution determines the amount in which the grant is worth, it is possible for applicants to have the entire cost of their tuition covered. 

What Student Loan Programs Does Florida Have?

The state of Florida does not offer state-provided student loan programs, and students who are in need of financial assistance should only consider student loans after exhausting all other items in our How To Pay For College Checklist.

Federal Student Loans

Prospective Florida students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA). You can find out more here

Private Co-Signed Student Loans

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No Co-Signer Student Loans

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In Florida?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based upon models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Florida that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which academic years we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6-year graduation rate. 

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Adventist University of Health SciencesNoNoNoNo3079
Ave Maria UniversityNoNoYesYes5668
Barry UniversityNoNoNoNo3661
Beacon CollegeNoNoYesYes5668
Bethune-Cookman UniversityNoNoNoNo3467
Carlos Albizu University-MiamiNoYesYesYes10071
Eckerd CollegeNoNoYesYes6882
Edward Waters CollegeNoNoNoNo2060
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona BeachNoNoYesYes6180
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-WorldwideNoNoNoNo1952
Everglades UniversityNoNoYesYes5964
Flagler College-St AugustineNoNoYesYes5672
Flagler College-TallahasseeNoNoNoNo
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityNoNoYesYes5183
Florida Atlantic UniversityNoNoYesYes5279
Florida Gulf Coast UniversityNoNoNoNo4879
Florida Institute of TechnologyNoNoYesYes6080
Florida International UniversityNoNoYesYes5888
Florida Memorial UniversityNoNoNoNo3656
Florida Polytechnic UniversityNoNoNoNo72
Florida Southern CollegeNoNoYesYes6480
Florida State UniversityNoYesYesYes8394
Hobe Sound Bible CollegeNoNoYesYes5067
Hodges UniversityNoNoNoNo2253
Jacksonville UniversityNoNoYesYes5371
Johnson & Wales University-North MiamiNoNoYesYes5669
Johnson University FloridaNoNoNoNo3469
Lynn UniversityNoNoYesYes5569
New College of FloridaNoNoYesYes6079
Nova Southeastern UniversityNoNoYesYes5079
Palm Beach Atlantic UniversityNoNoYesYes5376
Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico-OrlandoNoNoNoNo050
Remington College-Heathrow CampusNoNoNoNo4352
Ringling College of Art and DesignNoYesYesYes7284
Rollins CollegeNoYesYesYes7483
Saint John Vianney College SeminaryNoNoYesYes6750
Saint Leo UniversityNoNoYesYes5172
Southeastern UniversityNoNoNoNo4267
St Thomas UniversityNoNoNoNo4065
Stetson UniversityNoNoYesYes6178
Talmudic College of FloridaNoNoYesYes5580
The Baptist College of FloridaNoNoYesYes6272
The University of TampaNoNoYesYes6078
The University of West FloridaNoNoNoNo4377
Trinity Baptist CollegeNoNoNoNo3464
Trinity College of FloridaNoNoNoNo2765
University of Central FloridaNoYesYesYes7390
University of FloridaYesYesYesYes9096
University of MiamiNoYesYesYes8291
University of North FloridaNoNoYesYes5981
University of South Florida-Main CampusNoYesYesYes7390
University of South Florida-St PetersburgNoNoNoNo3478
Warner UniversityNoNoNoNo3257
Webber International UniversityNoNoNoNo2752
Yeshivah Gedolah Rabbinical CollegeNoNoNoNo064
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