Financial Aid

Modern-day financial aid can be confusing to anyone who has either attended college in the past or is venturing into the college application process in the present. TCA is here to personally guide you through this conundrum…please do not worry. We will assist you as best we can through the application and the merit scholarship process.

From 20,000 Feet:

  • There are two types of financial aid, each under a separate umbrella:
  1. ONE…what the federal government (via the FAFSA- Free Application for Student Aid application) is willing to give (grants=free money) calculated via a parent’s income and assets. Or, the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, which every American citizen qualifies for independent of parent’s age, assets, or income (and funds to be repaid with interest).

Borrowing limits for Guaranteed Student Loan

  • Freshman year= $5,500
  • Sophomore year= $6,500
  • Junior and Senior year= $7,500
  1. Two…what each college or university is willing to afford a student based on meritocracy (academic scholarship and outside-the-classroom involvement, which does not have to be repaid)? There is NO financial qualification for this type of award. This type of aid will often be the majority of gift aid for most students, especially at private colleges and universities. This is generally based and assessed on a student’s GPA, degree of course rigor, test scores (if submitted), quality of the secondary school as defined by an institution’s school profile, AP scores (if submitted), extracurricular leadership value, and demographic objectives important to a college or university (diversity, multi-culturalism, athletic priority, institutional interest, geography, gender, college priorities, and international background).

What to Know as You Begin (basics):

  • Federal financial aid is calculated based on parent income, assets savings, number of dependents “in house”, and age.
  • Retirement contributions (403B, 4O1K, Roth, Roth IRA, etc.), as well as home equity are excluded from the federal financial aid formula.
  • Divorced or single parents need to self-identify and schedule a meeting with their college counselor.
  • Those seeking financial aid will have to ensure their federal and state taxes are up to date within the past two years and available online.
  • Parents will have to complete the FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid), which is the federal financial aid application form required of anyone seeking financial assistance (this is required by all colleges in the United States).

What to Do:

  • The FAFSA (see link below) or the Free Application For Student Aid is available to complete beginning October 1, 2022, for those applying to college in the fall of 2023. You cannot qualify for financial aid without submitting the FAFSA. This is a mandatory first step in qualifying for financial aid. TCA’s suggestion is to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible on or after October 1, 2022. DO NOT DELAY this application process. For many colleges, it is a first come, first serve basis for financial and merit aid. PLEASE submit the FAFSA application ASAP on or after October 1, 2022. You will need your completed 2021 federal income taxes.
  • Please see your college advisor for accurate assistance with your FAFSA submission. We are here to help.
  • Apply using the FAFSA website: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid

Florida Bright Futures:

Florida Bright Futures is a state-based scholarship program funded by the Florida lottery. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program intends to discount (75%) or fully remit (100%) tuition expenses at Florida state universities (room and board not included). The same dollar amount used to apply toward discounted (75%) or full tuition remission (100%) at Florida state universities can also be applied to private colleges (though the overall tuition discount or remission will represent a smaller percentage of the total cost, as private universities are significantly more expensive than state universities).

General Requirements

  • Earn a Florida secondary school diploma
  • Be a Florida resident and US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Apply by August 31 after you graduate from a public or private high school (though the recommended application date is January 15 for TCA students)
  • No felony convictions
  • Be accepted and enroll in a degree or certificate program at an eligible Florida public or private post-secondary institution

Bright Future Award Definitions and Qualifying Standards

  • There are two primary Bright Futures Awards:
  1. Florida Academic Scholars (FAS): 100% tuition remission
  2. Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS): 75% tuition remission
  • FAS (100% tuition remission)
  1. 5 weighted GPA (9-12)
  2. ACT=29 or higher, SAT=1330 or higher
  3. 100 hours of verifiable community service (9-12)
  4. 16-course credits, including (English (4 years), Math (4 years), Natural Science (3 years, including 2 years of laboratory), Social Science (3 years), and World Language (2 years)
  5. Good for 8 semesters (4 years) of undergraduate education
  • FMS (75% tuition remission)
  1. 0 weighted GPA (9-12)
  2. ACT=25 or higher, SAT= 1210 or higher
  3. 75 hours of verifiable community service (9-12)
  4. 16-course credits, including (English (4 years), Math (4 years), Natural Science (3 years, including 2 years of laboratory), Social Science (3 years), and World Language (2 years)
  5. Good for 8 semesters (4 years) of undergraduate education

* One can earn the FAS (100% tuition remission) by also becoming a National Merit Finalist or National Hispanic Scholar, independent of the above qualifying standards for FAS and FMS awards (BUT, the 100 or 75-hour community service hours still apply).

For more detailed information on Bright Futures: https://floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org

To apply for the Florida Bright Future Scholarship Program (but you will do this with your college counselor at a pre-arranged time in January 2023):