Bill links Bright Futures to graduates working in Florida

Critics say students need to go wherever they find employment

ORLANDO, Fla. - Some Florida lawmakers are proposing dramatic changes to the state's Bright Futures scholarship program, a move that could lead to some students having to pay back their scholarship money.

Bright Futures gives discounts on state school tuition to high-achieving students in Florida.

Under the bill, however, students would have to give back the money if they take jobs out of state after graduation.

"I think it's kind of limiting to students that do that," said Ashley Strab, a Health Services Administration student who graduates on Saturday. "If they do have to pay it back if they move out of state."

Brittney Janssen graduates on Friday with her microbiology degree and she says the bill would turn Bright Futures into a loan, not a scholarship.

"I think it kind of takes away your freedom of doing anything outside of Florida," she said. "I think its sort of pointless to pay back the scholarship cause that's sort of the point in getting it."

Supporters say the change will encourage graduates to stay in the state, but critics argue that students have to go wherever they can find employment.

Under the bill, the graduates would earn credits for every six months they're employed in Florida, they wouldn't have to pay back one semester of scholarship money.  If a student worked for four years after graduating, it would payoff a four-year scholarship.

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