(1) A student is eligible for a Florida Academic Scholars award if he or she meets the general eligibility requirements for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program and: (a) Has achieved a 3.5 weighted grade point average as calculated pursuant to s. 1009.531, or its equivalent, in high school courses that are designated by the State Board of Education as college-preparatory academic courses and has attained at least the score required under s. 1009.531(6)(a) on the combined verbal and quantitative parts of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the Scholastic Assessment Test, or the recentered Scholastic Assessment Test of the College Entrance Examination, or an equivalent score on the ACT Assessment Program; (b) Has attended a home education program according to s. 1002.41 during grades 11 and 12, has completed the International Baccalaureate curriculum but failed to earn the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or has completed the Advanced International Certificate of Education curriculum but failed to earn the Advanced International Certificate of Education Diploma, and has attained at least the score required under s. 1009.531(6)(a) on the combined verbal and quantitative parts of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the Scholastic Assessment Test, or the recentered Scholastic Assessment Test of the College Entrance Examination, or an equivalent score on the ACT Assessment Program;
(c) Has been awarded an International Baccalaureate Diploma from the International Baccalaureate Office or an Advanced International Certificate of Education Diploma from the University of Cambridge International Examinations Office;
(d) Has been recognized by the merit or achievement programs of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation as a scholar or finalist; or
(e) Has been recognized by the National Hispanic Recognition Program as a scholar recipient.
The student must complete a program of volunteer service or, beginning with a high school student graduating in the 2022-2023 academic year and thereafter, paid work, as approved by the district school board, the administrators of a nonpublic school, or the Department of Education for home education program students, which must include 100 hours of volunteer service or paid work. The student may identify a social or civic issue or a professional area that interests him or her and develop a plan for his or her personal involvement in addressing the issue or learning about the area. The student must, through papers or other presentations, evaluate and reflect upon his or her volunteer service or paid work experience. Such volunteer service or paid work may include, but is not limited to, a business or governmental internship, work for a nonprofit community service organization, or activities on behalf of a candidate for public office. The hours of volunteer service or paid work must be documented in writing, and the document must be signed by the student, the student’s parent or guardian, and a representative of the organization for which the student performed the volunteer service or paid work.
(2) A Florida Academic Scholar who is enrolled in a certificate, diploma, associate, or baccalaureate degree program at a public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution is eligible for an award equal to the amount necessary to pay 100 percent of tuition and fees established under ss. 1009.22(3), (5), (6), and (7); 1009.23(3), (4), (7), (8), (10), and (11); and 1009.24(4), (7)-(13), (14)(r), and (16), as applicable, and is eligible for an additional stipend for textbooks, to assist with the payment of educational expenses as funds are specifically appropriated in the General Appropriations Act.
(3) To be eligible for a renewal award as a Florida Academic Scholar, a student must maintain the equivalent of a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale with an opportunity for restoration one time as provided in this chapter.
(4) In each school district, the Florida Academic Scholar with the highest academic ranking shall receive an additional award equal to the amount specified in the General Appropriations Act for college-related expenses. This award must be funded from the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.