The future of Bright Futures is hazy

Jennifer Ronzon, Intern

Proposed changes to the Florida Bright Futures scholarship program have continued to pass through toward the Florida Senate floor. 

The changes to Bright Futures were filed by Republican senator Dennis Baxley who stated the changes would make graduating scholars more likely to be employed out of college.

However, the bill has been met with much pushback.

Major changes proposed to Bright Futures originally included limiting eligibility for scholarships to students pursuing STEM degrees. This controversial proponent of the bill was eliminated by Baxley following a hearing in which students challenged the bill.

Despite the more controversial elements of the bill being eliminated, Bright Futures is still not safe.

If passed, SB 86 will tie the monetary award recipients receive to the state budget. This means the award amount could change annually, leaving students in uncertainty.

Currently, scholars are awarded 75 percent or 100 percent of their tuition, depending on their achievements, with the scholarships funded by the Florida Lottery. If passed, the scholarships would be funded by the state. Opponents of the bill argue that this leaves too much room for budget cuts made by the legislature in the future.

The additional $600.00 stipend awarded to Florida Academic Scholars to cover textbook costs is also at risk of being eliminated. The bill claims by eliminating the additional award, it would eliminate excess costs, thus helping the budget for Bright Futures.

Students, parents, and educators across the state are concerned about what the bill means for students’ futures- students who rely on the program. The program assisted 111, 973 Florida students in the 2019 – 2020 school year. If passed, the changes will affect current and future scholars.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].