New Florida Bill Challenges Students’ Bright Futures


  We hear it all through high school. Every year, PPCHS guidance counselors and administrators remind us of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, the statewide program that helps fund over 115,000 Florida college students to pay for school. Of course, hypothetically, the state legislators could elect to change it whenever they please. Only this time, it’s no longer hypothetical. 

  A controversial bill has been introduced into the Florida Senate, which if passed, would add restrictions to the majors funded through the scholarship, and impacts those students who may have an excess of college credits coming into high school, from AP or dual enrollment. Senior Amaya John says, “I’ve worked really hard through high school to get this scholarship. The requirements are not easy, and it took a lot of late nights and studying. I’d be really frustrated if this bill was passed, because it would affect all of us, even those already in college on the scholarship.” Republican senator Dennis Baxley introduced this bill last month, and now it is on hold.

  Senator Baxley’s bill would limit the funding to only areas of study that lead “directly to unemployment.” Predictably, most assume majors not supported by the bill include majors like: sociology, humanities, anthropology, and a various amount of liberal arts degrees.The bill has faced great opposition from students, parents, and schools alike. In fact, a group of students from the Orlando area created an Instagram account and a petition.  

  Of course, the passing of the bill would impact any and all students on the Bright Futures Scholarship, whether already attending a Florida University or a prospective college student in high school.The bill would also prevent students from stacking financial aid from the federal government, and that of the state.  Freshman Kimberly Navarro says, “The Bright Futures Scholarship is a huge incentive to go to college in-state. If it got passed, I would put more consideration into going out-of-state for sure.” More than 78% of college students choose to stay in-state because of the affordability and financial aid from the scholarship funding. 

  One thing remains true: college is a big investment into your future, and for some families, could place a financial burden on families without financial assistance. The Bright Futures Scholarship Program provides a helping hand to many Florida families with college aspirations, and the state will be watching to see if there are any changes.