Numerous news outlets, including this one, have reported on proposed legislation that could significantly impact many Florida students. It’s an interesting – even controversial – story that we’ll follow closely. According to a bill sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), students and their families could see the following changes to both their choices and funding for post-secondary education.
- From Little to Big: New College and Florida Polytechnic University, two of the smallest SUS institutions, could be absorbed by two of Florida’s largest – FSU and UF, respectively – in order to save taxpayer dollars. Administrators from all four schools have been surprised by this proposal, and students attending these schools are understandably upset. It’s hard to predict what this change, if it occurs, will look like and how it would impact admissions at all four schools. Stay tuned.
- EASE: Currently, the Effective Access to Student Education is a no-need grant (families don’t need to demonstrate financial hardship) that gives students attending Florida’s private universities and colleges a little under $3,000 annually to offset tuition costs. Under this proposed legislation, EASE would be given only to families with financial need, thus no longer available for all.
- Another Change to Bright Futures: This scholarship, funded by the Florida Lottery, currently gives high achieving Florida students a full- or partial-tuition scholarship covering public school costs (funds can also be applied to private colleges and universities). While not drastically altering Bright Futures, this bill would eliminate the $300 stipend Florida Academic Scholarship (the highest award) that recipients receive per semester for books. It would also increase from 75% to 100% the amount of tuition covered under the Florida Medallion Scholarship if the award is used at a two-year public college for an associate’s degree – and this may carry over if the recipient transfers to a four-year college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree.
It’s important to note that this bill is still going through committee and has yet to become law. Keep an eye on this page for further updates!