Gov. DeSantis signals support for fully funded Bright Futures
DeSantis laid out priorities at start of Session. Now Floridians share theirs. Image via Colin Hackley.

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DeSantis said he hopes the Legislature "follows suit."

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday seemingly distanced himself from a Republican proposal that would fundamentally change the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

Sponsored by Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, the bill (SB 86) seeks to limit Bright Futures scholarships to degrees with higher job prospects.

Proponents of the measure argue the change will help guide students toward more promising career fields and benefit the state’s economy in the long run.

Critics, including many Democrats, contend the bill would pull students away from their passions and possibly draw them away from higher education.

Speaking at a press conference in Naples, DeSantis signaled his stance on the measure.

“I think Bright Futures is something that Florida families have relied upon,” DeSantis said. “It’s something that I support. I fully funded it in my budget, and we hope the Legislature follows suit on that as well.”

The Republican Governor’s remarks come a day after the Senate Education Committee narrowly advanced the bill.

Notably, Baxley’s proposal appeared before lawmakers after Republicans rewrote the bill under increasing pressure, particularly from students.

Despite some revisions, opponents to the bill remained firm in their opposition Tuesday.

Committee members heard oppositional testimony from roughly 70 speakers including student government presidents.

The bill calls on the Board of Governors (BOG) to create an annual list of ineligible degree programs.

If students wish to earn more than 60 credit hours under the scholarship, they’d need to select a major not identified by the BOG.

The bill also includes a provision that would tie tuition payments to the state budget.

That provision, which would remove the 75% or 100% tuition guarantee, is a sticking point for many students.

Baxley’s proposal moves next to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Senate Appropriations Committee.

If signed into law, the proposal would impact the 2022-23 academic year.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


2 comments

  • Todd Griffin

    March 18, 2021 at 10:35 am

    Bright Futures Changes:

    What would normally be 100% scholarship your child can earn to attend a Florida school (120 credit hours)
    • Subtract 50% if you chose the wrong major (60 credit hours)
    • Subtract 3 credit hours per AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, AICE or Cambridge class taken in highschool (even if the college does not accept it as credit)
    • Subtract any other scholarship you earned to help cover the increasing cost of books, fees, room and board, etc. It would no longer be stackable so any scholarship you earn will be subtracted off Bright Futures
    • Now subtract the rest because it is first come, first served. It used to be a guarantee if you earned it. Now they’d budget a certain amount for Bright Futures each year based on their priorities and once money is out it is out. If you are not a returning student you will not have priority.
    • If the board decides to totally use the money elsewhere they would be allowed, the money for Bright Futures can be allocated elsewhere with this bill. “It gives the legislature the ability to sweep the fund, not provide it, not use the money for Bright Futures,” Senator Polsky added.
    • This can amount to upwards of $100,000 out of pocket per child if this bill passes when college normally would be covered 100%

    This bill was approved at the first committee meeting yesterday, and a majority with the same senators who approved it are on the next committee. They also voted against any amendment that would allow students to make a case for why their major should be accepted on an individual basis (for example if they had a job lined up with proof), the board is denying even the ability to appeal a decision. Please help spread the word about how devastating this bill is, so we can rally enough parents and students complaining to where they might actually listen to us. So far 100,000 signatures and thousands of emails and calls has not been enough. It appears they really want to spend this money elsewhere.

    https://www.mysuncoast.com/2021/03/16/bright-futures-bill-sails-through-committee/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=snd&utm_content=wwsb&fbclid=IwAR1tUtku6PJ9KPMjosiRnmY-PsZjC8pfulNHFRlPWpbrIMPekjkur6cU93w

    • Kappy10

      March 18, 2021 at 11:38 am

      Not to mention HB 1273 by the same group looking to give IN STATE tuition to OUT OF STATE GRANDCHILDREN of Florida residents. Its absurd!! That is where I’m guessing some of the money would be directed since Baxley is the sponsor in the senate of that as well.

Comments are closed.


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