Here you will find information on the types of financial aid, steps for applying, and sources of financial aid.

Types of Financial Aid

  • Grants or Scholarships - money that does not have to be repaid. Grants are usually based on financial need. Scholarships usually have specific criteria such as, academic achievement, test scores, activities, essays, etc. Sometimes financial need is one of the requirements for a scholarship.
  • Loans - money that must be repaid.
  • Work Study - program where the college or other post secondary institution locates a job for the student or the student may find employment on his own.
  • *Loans and Work Study are generally called "Self-Help Aid"
  • Financial aid that is awarded in combinations of the above types is called a "Financial Aid Package".

Sources of Financial Aid

  • Federal Programs
    • Pell Grants
    • Campus Based Programs
    • Federal Direct Loans
    • Federal Family Education Loans
  • State of Florida Programs
    • The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program
    • Additional Programs Administered by the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance
  • College/Post secondary Institutional Sources
  • Community Sources
  • Foundations, Corporate, or Organizational Programs

Florida Bright Futures and other Florida State Scholarships/Grants

The Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), administers state and some federally funded student financial assistance programs to assist eligible students defray the costs of postsecondary education. Need-based, merit-based, special interest, and professional programs are available. Each program has specific eligibility requirements.

Polk Education Foundation (PEF) Scholarships

The Polk Education Foundation is a non-profit organization directly supporting the Polk County Public Schools. Through the Foundation, various donors contribute scholarship monies to assist students in continuing their education after high school.

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Take Stock in Children

The Polk Education Foundation also administers the Take Stock in Children scholarship and mentoring program.

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Voice of Democracy Scholarship

Created in 1947, the Voice of Democracy (VOD) scholarship program is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades 9-12 that annually provides more than $3 million in scholarships. The first-place winner, who competes with all the first-place VFW Department winners, receives a $30,000 scholarship that is paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

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Other Scholarships/Grants/Loans

Here you will find a variety of other financial aid resources.

Click here for other scholarship resources