Need help understanding merit scholarships in FL

Hi, we live in FL and my daughter’s PSAT scores were 750 math, 740 verbal. It looks to me like this will be good for NM, right? She will also be eligible for Bright Futures, but do I understand correctly that she could now be eligible to receive the full cost of attendance (room and board included?) at various instate schools, as well as other perks? How does this work? She is dual enrolled full time right now. Her grades have always been good (As and Bs) but not perfect. Also, we do not have any relationship with the guidance counselor at her former high school, because a new one came in after she left to dual enroll. Thanks.

ETA: She got a 33 on her ACT taken right after the PSAT. Is that confirming or how does that work? She took that under less than great conditions without really preparing, and could probably do better if need be. Also she does not have a lot of extracurriculars, and I don’t see how she will get any HS awards as a FT dual enrolled student. Is this a problem?

@teaandcrackers, that PSAT score will be a selection index of 223, well above the National Merit cutoff in FL. She’s going to be a semifinalist, and as long as she does not have several C’s or a disciplinary record and fills out the paperwork timely, she’ll be a finalist. Yes a 33 will be a confirming score, I believe, but check National Merit Corp web site or call them. If you have GC issues you will need to keep on them, because there are steps the GC has to take to help her qualify.

As far as the Florida scholarships, yes the Benacquisto Program will pay all costs of attendance for her to UF, FSU, USF, UCF and a few others. She’d get about $22,000 to Miami (though Miami might award her other of their own scholarships that stack on top of the Benacquisto).

Later she’ll need to designate one of those schools as her No. 1 choice with National Merit Corp, then the school will award her a small college sponsored scholarship, and she’ll be a National Merit Scholar eligible for the Benacquisto. The school will then note the Benacquisto scholarship in her FA portal. I’m not a FL resident so not sure but I believe Benacquisto replaces Bright Futures, since it pays full cost of attendance.


1 Like

Thank you! I think what I am confused about is, is Benacquisto better than Bright Futures? I think it is, correct? BF only covers tuition, but Benacquisto covers full cost of attendance. Do I have that right?

She has one disciplinary offense on her record for leaving campus briefly during the school day, for which she received detention. It is noted on her record as “minor,” but it is on there. I am also wondering if NMS sees all her grades or just semester grades. Her semester grades are all As and Bs, mostly As (in hard classes) but her quarter grades include a few Cs.

Yes, Benacquisto is better (more money) than BF, and the student can’t get both. If she wants to go to a private school like Rollins or Florida Southern, she’d use the BF as they don’t take Benacquisto, but otherwise Benac is better as it also pays R&B.

If you have Florida Prepaid, the schools have a formula for using that too (or you can save it).

Most schools allow stacking of other scholarships with either Benac/BF.

It’s a nice position to be in.

1 Like

@teaandcrackers, regarding grades, I think it depends on how your school reports them on the official transcript. My youngest’s HS is also on the quarter system, but the semester grade is the only one that counts for GPA so the transcript only shows semester grades. Maybe your HS works the same?

Ok. The semester grades are the only ones that count for GPA, so as long as that’s all they can see, we are good.