Bright Futures Scholarships gets mini-makeover

Photo courtesy: Belinda Gonzalez-Leon

Many students wishing to enroll in college in Florida have found help in the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program.

But the eligibility requirements have been changing.

House Bill 25, approved by Governor Ron DeSantis on June 29, 2021, made significant changes to Bright Futures. Numerous facets of Florida’s post-secondary education are covered by this measure, including the essential modifications to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program.

This merit-based scholarship program, established in 1997, has helped many people realize their college goals. Nevertheless, with the passing of HB 25, this program has undergone a significant transformation that has raised numerous issues and worries.

Will the modifications to this measure continue to benefit many people or prove to be a mistake for some? Prior to the legislation, Florida Bright Futures paid 100% of all college-related costs, including tuition and other specified fees, provided the student met certain criteria: a minimum weighted GPA of 3.0, community service hours, SAT/ACT scores, and more were among the prerequisites for the award.

With the previous standards, students were driven to ensure they had strong grades, a decent SAT/ACT score, and a certain number of hours of community service.

What difference would changing it make?

“By improving the existing opportunities available, this bill secures Florida’s greatest legacy, its children, and ensures they are set up on the path to their brightest future regardless of economic background,” DeSantis said after signing the bill into law.

The Florida Bright Futures has always been around to give students hope. With the signing and a few changes, DeSantis made it clear that he wants everyone to have a chance to obtain this scholarship.

Most notably, Florida Bright Futures will no longer cover the whole cost of tuition; instead, it will only cover a portion of tuition following the passage of HB 25. Students, especially those from complex financial backgrounds, can be made or broken by this shift. However, this will change depending on the scholarship degree and the school type.

Additionally, the revised law does not call for SAT or ACT results. Students are now judged according to their high school courses and GPA.

It is possible to consider this to be simpler than previously. There are no longer any SAT/ACT requirements, fewer volunteer hours, just simply hard work and commitment.

Some individuals are nonetheless concerned about the tiny improvements. Despite this, Florida Bright Futures intends to provide students the freedom to choose their course of action. The question of whether or not this was the best decision is still being debated.