Florida senator introduces bill to restrict student financial aid

TAMPA, Florida – A Florida Senate bill would reduce the amount of the Bright Futures scholarship some students receive.

SB 86, tabled by Republican Senator Dennis Baxley of Ocala, would require grants to be reassessed every semester and limit funding for certain majors that do not lead “directly to employment.”

According to the bill, the Board of Governors and the National Board of Education would meet annually to approve which career, undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are eligible for full funding and which are not. not. Students studying areas not on the list will receive reduced funding for a maximum of 60 course credit hours.

Currently, students of any major must maintain a GPA of 2.75 to receive funding from the Florida Medallion Scholar, or a 3.0 to be eligible for funding from the Florida Academic Scholar. All full-time funded students must take 12 or more credit hours per semester.

Republicans in the legislature say the changes are a way for the state to cut spending. According to a Annual Report from the Florida Department of Education, state grants and scholarships totaled nearly $ 1 billion for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Florida Lottery funds the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. It has awarded more than $ 6.2 billion to students since 1997.

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