It’s no surprise that many students stay in state for college due to the affordability of being able to claim in-state residency. In addition to the dramatic price difference and discounted tuition rate for residents, many resources come from staying close to home. One of the most popular resources in Florida is the Florida Shines program. This program has been beneficial to the success of many students at Florida A&M University in a plethora of ways.
According to www.fscj.edu, “Florida Shines is a statewide web-based system providing student access to a wide variety of admissions, academic, career, financial aid, and learning resource information.”
A commonly utilized resource through Florida Shines is the transient student program. With high goals to reach, many students pursue summer classes for various reasons. Whether it’s to get ahead or do grade redemption, this resource allows students to enroll in courses at other Florida schools. This benefits not only Florida residents but any student attending a school in Florida. Kennedy Owens-Grain, a sophomore business administration student, recalls applying to take classes at Tallahassee Community College online while she was back home this past summer.
“I enrolled at TCC online over the summer through Florida Shines. I worked on finishing up my electives so this semester I could get ahead and primarily focus on my core curriculum classes,” Owens-Grain said.
This same resource became crucial this semester as the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication had to cancel courses due to the lack of professors. This issue brought about worries for countless students and an even greater worry for graduating seniors who needed specific courses to graduate on time. William Jiles, director of journalism, shared the value the program brought this semester more than ever before.
“Florida Shines has brought a great deal of value to the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. We have been short-staffed and not been able to provide an adequate number of courses for our students, “Jiles said. “Through Florida Shines transient program, we can send students to other institutions so they can earn the credit hours that would help fulfill their degree plans.”
Consequently, most of the transfer students at FAMU also benefited from Florida Shines. Another resource offered is the 2+2 program, which grants students who have completed two years of coursework at a Florida community college automatic acceptance into a Florida state school.
An additional resource that benefits many in-state students is the Florida Bright Futures scholarship. Florida Shines provides two different scholarships to students, the Florida Academic scholarship covering 100% of tuition and fees, and the Florida Medallion scholarship covering 75%. Aaliyah Andrews, a freshman political science student from Willingboro, N.J. by way of Palm Bay, Fla., is the recipient of the Florida Academic scholarship.
“Bright Futures definitely takes the burden off my parents from having to pay for my school,” Andrews said. “School is very expensive and before I was stressing about how I was going to pay; this program alleviates that pressure and allows me to focus on my studies.”
To obtain both scholarships students must reside in the state of Florida, complete the required number of volunteer hours, hold the minimum GPA, and meet the standardized testing score requirement. Specific requirements and additional information on all provided programs can be found on floridashines.org.