Florida Budget Cuts Dig into ‘Bright Futures’ for College Students

A new plan to cut Florida’s budget may mean students will have to dig deeper into their pockets to attend college. It raises tuition prices as well as making Bright Futures Scholarships slightly dimmer with higher standards for acceptance and fewer dollars for tuition.

According to the Higher Education Committee budget meeting, state lawmakers in the Florida House are signing off on a $69.2 billion budget. The Florida House voted Thursday 79-38 in favor of the budget, which will set the stage for negotiations during the final month of the annual session.

Republicans call the budget responsible because it boosts money for schools without raising taxes, but Democrats have criticized the budget because it raises tuition for college students and raises standards for the state’s popular Bright Futures scholarship.

The cost of post-secondary education in Florida is almost the lowest in the nation at an average of $5,531, Florida ranks 45,” said House Appropriation Chairman Denise Grimsley. “Allowing tuition increases helps keeps Florida nationally competitive.”

Many students are not in favor of the Bright Futures scholarships being bombarded with budget cuts and higher standards. They have expressed the budget is tight but they don’t want to see any cuts to bright futures.

Bernice Green, a fourth-year mathematical sciences student from Jacksonville, felt terrible about students who will have to deal with the changes. Green, who is graduating, said, “Bright Futures paid for a good portion of my tuition, I thought it was a smart incentive to keep good students in Florida institutions.”

Too Precious Crayton, a second-year health care management student from Orlando, is not worried about how the cuts will affect her but she is concerned for other Florida students who rely solely on it.

“I am not too nervous about my Bright Futures scholarship being cut because it is not my only scholarship and they only took care of a small portion of my tuition,” said Crayton.

Asantewaa Dapaah, a third-year biology pre-med student from Orlando, agrees with the budget cuts.

“Although I do receive money from Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship I am in favor of doing what needs to be done to cut Florida’s debt,” Dapaah said. “If my scholarship is downsized I need to see improvements in my school system. I am in favor of taking a budget cut to make Florida schools better.”