Financial Aid

  • Steps for the Senior Year

    August to November of Senior Year:

    • Start to gather tax information from parents and remind them to file early in January/February
    • Make sure you have a Social Security number and that the school has it on file
    • Start filling out Scholarship Applications: get the newsletter from school and search websites

    December to January of the Senior Year:

    • Through English classes, you will register for a PIN number for FAFSA, complete Bright Futures Application, and the State of Florida Financial Aid Application (If you miss this day, see your counselor or go online and do it yourself)
    • Remind parents and if you also need to, to file taxes as soon as you have tax information
    • Talk to parents about the living situation.  This is a question on the FAFSA and can alter the value of awards.
    • Continue filling out scholarship applications

    February of the Senior Year:

    • File taxes for the last year
    • Know what school you might be attending in the Summer or Fall
    • Attend either the Financial Aid Night or College Goal Sunday to get help filing your FAFSA form at
    • Parents should also apply for a PIN number to do an electronic signature on FAFSA
    • Continue filling out scholarship applications

    March to April of the Senior Year:

    • Review Financial Aid packages from colleges and the federal government (Most schools do their financial aid packages in early March)
    • Send in any additional forms or information required by the school or federal government
    • Continue filling out scholarship applications: Look for the School Board Foundation Scholarships and Santa Fe College Scholarships

    Following January and every January after that:

    • Re-Apply for Financial Aid every Spring after filing taxes for that year...remind parents to continue filing early every year


    FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid)

    Steps to filing:

    • Cannot be done until after January 1st every year
    • You must apply for it in order to get any federal funding or Bright Futures.  Some scholarships also require that you file for FAFSA.  Federal Grants, Scholarships, and Loans come from FAFSA.
    • Federal Scholarships and grants are considered free money and do not have to be paid back as long as the guidelines are met
    • Work Study is where you are employed usually by the school in some capacity and can earn up to a set amount of money for the semester.  This is a normal paying job and taxes are taken out.  Students on work-study are given priority to jobs on campus.
    • Loans are money that is given to you but must be paid back.  Some incur interest as soon as you take it and some wait until usually 6 months after completing or leaving school to start incurring interest.  These are usually called Stafford Loans--unsubsidized and subsidized.  Parents can also take out their own individual loans.  You can deny loans or parts of loans for each semester. 
    • Both you and parent must create a PIN number first.  You will need this number your entire time in school and to access your accounts after you leave college.  Pick a number you will always remember.
    • Then you fill out the required information and tax information is needed to do this.  You also need to know where you will be attending school in the Summer or Fall.
    • Once complete, you submit using your PIN number as your electronic signature.
    • A report called, SAR will be mailed to you a few weeks afterward detailing your financial aid packages or if any other information that may be needed to complete the process.  
    • Once you enter college, it is important to know where the Financial Aid Office is and who is your Financial Aid Officer.
    • Always know your Deadlines!!!

    Florida Student Financial Aid

    Bright Futures (Florida Based Scholarship Program)

    • After answering the questions on the Florida Student Financial Aid page, it should take you directly into Bright Futures
    • Go to and click on Grants, Scholarships, & Applications
    • Answer all questions carefully
    • Make sure you pay attention to the felony question--marking incorrectly will cause an error to generate and stop processing
    • All students applying for Bright Futures are pursuing a normal standard diploma (including IB students).  Special here refers to Special Diploma.
    • Turn in volunteer hours on a regular basis--these hours start from the summer before 9th grade and go through 12th grade
    • IB students will have on average 50-100 of the 150 CAS volunteer hours converted over to Bright Futures, but we encourage you to turn in additional hours 
    • 100 hours is needed for the Florida Academic Scholar Award
    • 75 hours is needed for the Florida Medallion Award
    • 30 hours is needed for the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Award
    • Each award also has testing requirements and GPAs based on core credits
    • Check your status on  each semester
    • Bright Futures has new guidelines put out each year.  It is important to understand the requirements as they pertain during the senior year. 
    • Bright Futures also has guidelines on having to pay back awards for credits not earned or dropping a class in college