Florida Bill Impacts Scholarships

The Florida state senate is currently debating a new bill that could restrict scholarship funds. Senate Bill 86 aims to restrict funds from college students who select majors that would not normally lead to direct employment. This means that some of the more “woke” college majors will see their students having to find a new way to pay tuition bills.

Angela Morabito with Campus Reform states that “the bill would restrict the state’s Bright Futures Scholarship dollars to students who choose a college major from a list of approved programs of study dictated by the Board of Governors and Board of Education.”

The funds for the Bright Futures Scholarship are currently gathered through the Florida lottery and “it currently covers 100 percent of tuition and applicable fees at in-state public institutions for eligible students,” Morabito explains.

Senate Bill 86, as it currently is,  outlines that it would require “that eligibility for such funds is contingent on enrollment in certain career certificate or degree programs” and would also need “the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education to each approve, by a specified date, a list of career certificate and undergraduate and graduate degree programs that they determine lead directly to employment.”

Another source, Action News Jax, has stated that “Students who decide to take career paths that are not included in this list would be limited to 60 hours of financial aid.”

“The logic in this is that funding the first two years of credits would allow students to adapt to a degree that would be on the list,” FSU News reported, adding, “Baxley mentioned that there are multiple stories he has heard about people putting Bright Futures money in the bank because they already have another source of income for college, such as Florida Prepaid.”

The new bill also states that if a student were to pass an AP class, or a class with dual enrollment, that they will not receive funds from Bright Futures to retake the course while in college. Baxley strongly stated that taxpayers do not want to fund a student to take a class a second time in college that was already passed in high school.

Morabito also noted that the  Florida Department of Economic Opportunity “projects that finance and business professionals, teachers, marketers, and HR specialists will see strong employment growth through 2028.” These findings seem to align with data independently found by National Center for Education Statistics.

The senator proposing the bill,  Sen. Dennis Baxley, has stated that “we want all of our students to succeed in meaningful careers that provide for their families and serve our communities. As taxpayers, we should all be concerned about subsidizing degrees that just lead to debt, instead of the jobs our students want and need. We encourage all students to pursue their passions, but when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized education, there needs to be a link to our economy, and that is the goal of this legislation.”

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