Scholarships: FAQ


When I research scholarships to apply for, what are some signs that the scholarship is a scam?

Be sure to read this link before you begin searching: Avoid Scholarship Scams


What is the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program?

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program (FBFS) is the umbrella program for three State of Florida scholarships based on academic achievement in high school. They are the Florida Academic Scholars Award, the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award and the Florida Medallion Scholars Award. These programs are funded by the state lottery, and are awarded to all Florida high school graduates who merit recognition of high academic achievement and enroll in an eligible Florida public or private Postsecondary educational institution within two years of high school graduation. Each of the three scholarships offered within the program has specific criteria that must be met.


How should I apply for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship (FBFS) Program?

For information contact your high school guidance office or the Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance at 1-888-827-2004 (toll-free). They also maintain a website at Please check with the Florida Department of Education for information and deadlines for applying.


Will your FBFS award be affected if you receive funds from Florida Prepaid College Program or a private scholarship?

Eligible recipients will receive a FBFS award regardless of other financial aid or prepaid tuition. The dollar award will not be decreased if you are receiving money from other aid programs. If you are receiving need-based aid, however, your need- based aid may be decreased to allow receipt of the FBFS Award.


How do Florida Bright Futures Scholarships and the Florida Prepaid College Plan affect each other?

Students participating in the Florida Prepaid Plan and who receive a Florida Bright Futures award can receive benefits from both plans. Each semester that a student presents his/her Pre-paid information to a cashier, tuition is paid by the Florida Prepaid Plan up to the maximum allowed number of credits. The Florida Bright Futures Award pays for fees and, if funds are available, any outstanding college bills, including purchases at the NWF State College College Stores in Niceville or Fort Walton Beach using the student's Raider Card (Student ID). Any remaining balance after Tuition, Fees, Books, and Supply costs is issued to the student via check.


What are Private Donor Scholarships?

Private scholarships are awards provided by organizations outside of the college such as Elks, Rotary, your local high school, national organizations, etc. You apply directly to the organization sponsoring the scholarship. The organization then selects the recipient(s) and sends the funds to the college to apply to your college costs.

All such outside scholarships must be reported to and processed through the Financial Aid Office. If you know you will be receiving a private scholarship (e.g., Elks, Rotary Club, etc.), please bring a copy of the award letter to the Financial Aid Office. This will help avoid delays later if we need to adjust other financial aid you might also be receiving.


If I get a private scholarship, what impact does this have on my eligibility for other financial aid?

If you receive a private scholarship award, this may influence the rest of your financial aid award since the combination of all financial aid and scholarships cannot exceed your "need." First, we will reduce loans that are offered to you, then other aid. We will email you a revised award letter to notify you of the changes. If you know that you will be receiving a private scholarship, please contact our office as soon as possible to prevent receiving an over-award, and having to repay aid you have already received.


When should I apply for scholarships?

Start searching for scholarships at least 9 months before you anticipate starting classes. High School students should start looking for and applying for scholarships in their freshman year and every year thereafter.


Where can I look for scholarships?

Other sources include: high school guidance counselors; local public library or college library; community or church organizations; local businesses; parents' employers; magazines and newspapers; consumer product organizations; asking friends, parents, teachers, counselors, and family members to watch for scholarships; and the Internet:


What are some tips on applying for scholarships?

READ THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS of the scholarships you are interested in FIRST. Save yourself time and energy by not applying for scholarships with qualifications you do not match. If you meet the basic requirements for an award, APPLY! Apply to as many sources as possible. Be complete and concise, but also creative. Apply as far in advance as possible. Avoid spelling and grammatical errors; have someone else read and proofread your application before you send it off. Do not talk yourself out of applying. You have as much of a chance to receive an award as any other applicant. Get a calendar and mark the deadlines of applications; look at it every day. Set up a scholarship file, this can include copies of your letters, transcripts, and personal statements to save time. Do not take rejection personally. Look at applying for scholarships as a Part-Time Job. If you spend ten (10) hours applying for scholarships and receive a $1,000 scholarship ... you made $100 per hour!


Will I receive a refund from my scholarship(s)?

Most scholarships cover tuition, fees, and required books only. So no refunds are received from NWF State College or Private Donor scholarships. Bright Futures is payable to you once all other college bills have been paid.


What happens if I don't use my entire award?

Please be sure to read the specific instructions for each of your scholarships. Private Donor scholarships generally carry over to subsequent semesters as long as you stay continuously enrolled at NWF State College. Excess Bright Futures funds are paid to the student. Foundation scholarships may be available in the summer term if unused in the fall and spring terms. NWF State College scholarships are generally awarded per term and are completely used.


How will I know if I get accepted for the scholarship I am applying for?

When a student is awarded a scholarship, generally the organization sends him/her an award letter that outlines the specifics of the award. The letter is usually mailed to the student's address and includes the amount of the award, the guidelines for receiving the award (such as the student must enroll full-time and maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA), and what steps still need to completed. Each organization has a different way of handling scholarships. Be sure to save a copy of your application as it may also contain guidelines you need to understand.


How/when should I re-apply for a scholarship that I have been previously accepted for?

Students need to check with the Donor of the scholarship to see if their scholarship is renewable. NWF State College Foundation Scholarships are usually renewable for a second year and have a new application process that will automate the renewal process. Foundation Scholarship students need to check their college email weekly for updates. The Air Force Aid Society Grant is renewable and usually applications are accepted in February.


Would there be a limit to how many scholarships I can receive if I currently receive financial aid?

Having many Scholarships in addition to Federal and State Grants may cause a student to exceed his/her Cost of Attendance. The Cost of Attendance is a student's budget for the academic year. Most students have a budget of more than $14,000 if they're attending NWF State College full-time (12 credit hours or more for 2 terms).


If I am not eligible for Federal Financial Aid can I still apply for scholarships?

The Standards of Academic Progress do not generally apply to scholarships. Most scholarships have a GPA requirement, however a student's Completion Rate and the 150% Rule are not considered for selecting recipients. For example, Foundation scholarships for nursing students only require that the student be admitted to the program and have a 2.50 cumulative GPA. Having a Bachelor's degree does not preclude the student from receiving a Foundation scholarship.


Under what circumstances will my scholarship award not disburse or be awarded?

Admissions must be clear in order for a scholarship to disburse. Admissions are clear when you have applied for admissions and cleared all holds including residency, turned in your high school transcript or GED, and turned in have your official college transcripts evaluated.


Are scholarships transferable to different schools?

NWF State College scholarships are only available for use at NWF State College. Bright Futures scholarships can be transferred to another Florida college. Private Donor scholarships are usually transferrable but this requires permission from the Donor or organization.