“What happened to Bright Futures?” asked State Senator Dwight Bullard.
The Senator sought attention to the legislative cuts approved in this year’s state education budget. The Scholarship program was funded for $266.2 million in the budget, down from the $309.4 million approved for 2013-2014.
Created with Lottery funding in 1997, the merit-based scholarship program is designed to have bright Florida high school seniors earn a subsidy to stay in Florida for college. Eligibility is based on grades, community service and ACT or SAT test scores. The program grew from awards to about 42,000 students costing $70 million to today’s totals.
About 154,160 students participated last year with average awards of $2,007 each, according to the Florida Department of Education. The program expects 127,573 students to qualify this year.
“The students most impacted by these cuts are African-Americans and Latinos,” Bullard said. “We say enough is enough.”