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Bright Futures

It could become even tougher for Florida students to get bright futures scholarships. A senate proposal would match the state score requirements for the SAT and ACT tests to match the national percentile rankings.

Florida "medallion scholars" will be among the biggest beneficiaries this academic year of the state's efforts to expand financial aid for university and state college students.

Florida College Students Can Now Use Bright Futures For Summer Term

May 4, 2018

For the first time in 17 years, top-performing students will be able to use their Bright Futures scholarships to attend summer classes at state universities and colleges.

Some college students in the nation's third-largest state may get a big break on their tuition this year under a sweeping proposal passed Thursday by the Florida Senate.

An additional 44,000 Bright Futures students would have their scholarships expanded under a bill approved Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

The legislation (SB 4), sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, would increase scholarship coverage for “medallion scholars” in state universities from the current $77 per credit hour to $159, or roughly 75 percent of the cost of tuition and fees.

Students Will See Financial Aid Expansion

Aug 3, 2017
Flickr

As Florida students return to universities and state colleges this month for a new academic year, many will benefit from a major expansion of need-based financial aid.

Higher Education Package Headed To Senate Vote

Mar 7, 2017

The Florida Senate is poised to approve a major higher-education package that would expand the use of Bright Futures scholarships and tighten graduation standards for universities and state colleges.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to combine the major elements of Senate President Joe Negron's higher-education initiative into one bill (SB 2), which also creates funding pools that will allow state universities to hire and retain top-level faculty and reward outstanding graduate programs.

WUSF Public Media

Florida's incoming Senate President Joe Negron is laying the groundwork to revamp the state's Bright Futures scholarships program, which is funded by the state lottery.

Flickr

Florida's state university system may ask legislators to expand the state's popular Bright Futures scholarship program to cover summer courses.

WUSF Public Media

Preparing to make public universities a priority during the next two years, incoming Senate President Joe Negron says more and better scholarships will help take Florida's higher-education system to the next level.

The Stuart Republican has made clear his goal of finding an additional $1 billion for the 12 public universities during his two-year term as president, which is slated to begin after the November elections.

WUSF Public Media

State Sen. Joe Negron, who is in line to become one of the top officials in state government, pledged Wednesday to steer $1 billion toward Florida's universities over the coming years.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Polls show Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist are polarizing. Voters are as likely to dislike the candidates as they are to approve of them.

So both candidates are talking about schools, colleges and scholarships -- to motivate their supporters.

“Education is an issue that is helping to appeal to the base," says Sean Foreman, a Barry University political science professor and chairman of the education committee for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

State university leaders want to add $45 million in needs-based financial aid to help make up for changes to the Bright Futures scholarship program. Those new, higher qualifications will eliminate more than $250 million a year in college aid by 2018.

A key Senate lawmaker may put less emphasis on test scores to determine which students qualify for state financial aid for college -- possibly including Bright Futures.

Instead, scholarships  and grants would depend more on taking tougher classes in high school.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Most new Palm Beach College Students were going through orientation earlier this month, but Jake Seiler was wrapping up his first three courses.

Despite earning the highest SAT scores of his two siblings — 1100, on six attempts — Seiler didn’t score high enough this year to earn the Bright Futures Florida Medallion scholarship his older sister got last year.

Bright Futures Funding Dwindling

Apr 21, 2014

As state lawmakers begin their final negotiations on a new budget, the Senate has proposed a $291 million Bright Futures program for the academic year that begins in the fall, with the House at $266 million. Both numbers represent a drop from this year’s $309 million Bright Futures budget.

Blaise Gainey / WFSU

On Thursday, Florida Democratic House leaders announced policy priorities they say they won’t let go of without a fight this session: increasing education funding, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and getting more Floridians health insurance.

But Democrats likely face an uphill battle with almost twice their number of Republicans in the Legislature.

House Minority Leader Perry Thurston says Democrats want the education funding to include a new need-based component to the state’s Bright Futures college scholarship program.

He says Dems also want to continue the debate about getting more Floridians health insurance after the state chose not to take $51 billion in federal funding under the Affordable Care Act.

“Without a doubt, the Republicans are looking for a very smooth session. We think that the last thing that they want to address is the $51 billion elephant in the room," he says.

FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org

More than half of Florida’s Hispanic and black students at state universities currently eligible for the state’s Bright Futures college scholarship would no longer qualify when new standards take effect on July 1, according to a University of South Florida analysis obtained by the Florida College Access Network.

By comparison, about 40 percent of white and Asian students at state universities would no longer be eligible for the scholarship.