A bill that would offer free college tuition to thousands of Florida students has cleared its first hurdle in the House.
Members of the Post-Secondary Education committee voted unanimously for HB 181, presented by Rep. Shevrin Jones of West Park, to create the "Florida Sunshine Scholarship Program."
If passed, the bill would cover 100 percent of tuition and fees for Florida residents with an annual household income of $50,000.
"For too many born into hardship, the idea of a college education or vocational training that could lead to economic security is out of reach," Jones said in a statement.
Recipients of the full-ride scholarship would have to commit to being a full-time student seeking an associate degree or career certificate at any Florida College System institution.
After graduating, recipients would have to reside or work in Florida equivalent to the amount of time they received the scholarship, or reimburse the state.
"'The Sunshine Scholarship Program’ will ensure that those seeking to break the cycle of generational poverty can get a head start on a bachelor’s degree or the career-based training they need to get a good-paying job in the economy of the future," stated Jones.
The bill will return to the House floor for further debate and approval.