A bill to cut scholarships for ‘Bright Futures’ students is back on the table

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
bright futures
Credit: Bright futures

A controversial bill that could change your child’s future is back on the table.

The bill that would cut scholarship money for “Bright Futures” students will be discussed on Tuesday. This means that students who don’t enroll in college majors that “lead directly to employment” would not receive scholarship money.

But some students and parents are stepping in to fight this bill.

Port Charlotte senior Grant Stacey is currently on spring break. So, he’s taking a road trip.

“We’re headed to Tallahassee right now taking a bit of a pit stop where are we?” Stacey said.

At a rest stop that’s 80 miles east of Tallahassee, Stacey explains why he’s going to the state capital instead of the beach. He says he’s going to protest Senate Bill 86, which would change the way the state awards bright futures scholarships.

“This feeling of betrayal, and it really is betrayal, is difficult to process,” said Stacey.

The newly amended bill would decrease “Bright Futures” scholarship money for students who take college courses in high school. It would also make less funding available to those who didn’t enroll with college majors that the state decides lead “directly” to employment.

“If I keep my grades up FSU might be able to offer me money but without bright futures, I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to afford to go,” he said.

State Senator Dennis Baxley says when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized education, there needs to be a clear link to the state’s economy.

Jeannine Schriber says that “Bright Futures” helped her two eldest daughters get through college debt-free.

“There’s no Florida legislator that should be able to decide that your child’s scholarship is or is not going to be covered,” Schrieber said. “They should be able to do what they like!”

Now, she isn’t sure that the money will be available to help her North Fort Myers High School sophomore do the same.

Parents and students alike are expected to give the Senate Education committee an earful during the debate session Tuesday afternoon. Democrats oppose the bill but the Republican-dominated leadership has signaled support for the bill.

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