Navigating the world of college applications can be challenging because there are many things to consider. The University of Florida understands that paying for college is one of the main barriers for many students who wish to pursue a degree, and is dedicated to helping to reducing the financial burden that many students face. UF offers various scholarship opportunities as well as resources to find additional aid. Read on to learn more about several of our scholarships, and visit the Student Financial Aid website for details: https://www.sfa.ufl.edu/types-of-aid/scholarships/.

Merit-based Freshman Scholarships
Merit-based scholarships are offered by the university; no separate application is required and awards will be announced within a week after admission decisions are released. Scholarships are classified as either “in-state” or “out-of-state” based on a student’s residency classification (or anticipated classification, we do use logic) for tuition purposes at decision day.

The three in-state scholarship levels are the Presidential Scholarship, worth $5,000 per year; the Presidential Gold Scholarship, worth $8,000 per year; and the Presidential Platinum Scholarship, worth $10,000 per year. There are also three out-of-state scholarships: the Alumni Scholarship, worth up to $8,000 per year; the Sunshine Scholarship, worth up to $16,000 per year; and the Gator Nation Scholarship, worth up to $20,000 per year. These scholarships are applied to a student’s tuition per credit hour.

Merit scholarships are limited in number and are only awarded one time per freshman class. Recipients will receive the same level of scholarship for four years as long as they qualify based on the terms of the scholarship.

Students are evaluated for merit-based scholarships with the same holistic review process used to make the admissions decision, so it is not just GPA + test score = scholarship. They are still highly competitive within our amazing freshman class, so there is no guarantee of an award. “All of our freshman class deserves a scholarship because of the amazing caliber of students we have applying, so it really is difficult to award these scholarships” says Jessica Roth, assistant director for scholarships and regional recruitment.

Other scholarships are offered by various academic departments, organizations, or groups across campus and coordinated through the Office of Student Financial Affairs (SFA) or by other third parties. Some helpful scholarship searches are www.fastweb.com, www.collegescholarships.org, www.scholarshipexperts.com, www.bigfuture.collegeboard.org, and www.petersons.com.

National Merit Finalists Scholarship- Benacquisto Scholarship Program
All National Merit Finalists who rank UF as their first-choice institution with the National Merit Corp. will receive an annual $500 scholarship from the university, good for four years. This then qualifies students for the Benacquisto Scholarship, which pays for the remaining cost of attendance after this scholarship and Bright Futures have been applied. Out-of-state students will have their out-of-state tuition waived.

Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars (MFOS)
With the vision to transform first-generation, low-income student lives, the MFOS program provides full grant and scholarship financial-aid packages as well as a support program to help students flourish during their time at UF. Eligible students must first be admitted to the University of Florida as first-year students, must complete the FAFSA by December 15, and are then invited to complete the MFOS Supplemental Form if they meet the initial eligibility criteria. The MFOS scholarship requires students be enrolled full time and be in-state residents.

Melanie Sandoval, a fourth-year pre-law student and MFOS scholarship recipient, said, “My biggest thanks is [to MFOS for] covering my whole undergraduate career 100 percent. I’m graduating debt-free and that’s one of the things not a lot of people get to do.”

Maria Croes, a fourth-year political science and international studies double major, also benefitted from the MFOS scholarship because of the freedom it gave her. “I was involved with HSA, HHM, Gamma Eta, and was an MFOS Mentor,” Croes said. “While I did work throughout college, it wasn’t like I needed it to survive. It wasn’t like, ‘I have to do this because if not I can’t be here,’ and that itself allowed me to be really involved on campus.”

Sandoval encourages students who are concerned about the financial implications of college to “not let your financial situation discourage you from applying and achieving greater things that you think you are capable of.” UF will continue looking for ways to assist all Gators in achieving a world-class education at an affordable price!