Changes to Bright Futures scholarship bill clears Florida Senate education committee

State Sen. Dennis Baxley, of Ocala, made his case Tuesday morning for his bill that would overhaul the Florida Bright Futures Program.

“If you’re graduating from college and you’re unhireable, that’s not a very bright future,” said Baxley.

After backlash from students and parents from the initial bill filled, Baxley compromised, proposing amendments to the bill. The changes include:

  • Instead of creating a list of degree programs that lead to direct employment, the Board of Governors would create a list of degree programs that do not lead to direct employment. That list would be reviewed yearly.
  • Students studying programs on the list receive reduced funding. Students who qualify, who are studying majors not on the list, may receive the full funding from Bright Futures.
  • The amendment would not reduce Bright Futures aid for students who earn college credit in high school through programs including advanced placement, dual enrollment and Cambridge.

“That’s a good step. I’d just like to see it backpedal a little further. I’d like it to be left alone. There’s already been changes raising requirements to get Bright Futures,” said Jocelyn Meyer, a senior at Rockledge High School.

Soon after the original bill was proposed, Meyer created an online petition that now has more than 126,000 signatures.

“When it’s a public state-lottery funded program, equal opportunity scholarship ... absolutely not. Your hard work should determine that,” said Meyer.

Meyer is on her way to the University of Central Florida in the fall, majoring in international global studies. She fits all the current requirements for a full-ride Bright Futures Scholarship. She’s still stressed about paying for costs outside of tuition.

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