The Florida Senate has once again made radical changes to a bill that would alter students’ Bright Futures scholarships depending on the major of their choice.
In a 5-4, party-line vote Tuesday, with Republicans in the majority, the Senate Education Committee passed the legislation which would tie the amount of aid students receive to the majors they choose in college. That bill would ask that the state’s Board of Governors compile a list of areas of study, that “do not lead directly to employment,” and would potentially cut the scholarship amounts for students whose programs appear on the list.
But according to the latest revision published early Monday, the bill will continue to require the list of majors, but it will no longer reduce scholarship amounts for students choosing those areas of study.
Instead, the list would serve mostly as a fact sheet providing details such as post-graduation median salary, median student loan debt, debt-to-income ratio, estimated monthly loan payment, and the percentage of graduates who have continued their education beyond the baccalaureate level.
The original bill also tried to cut scholarships based on how many college credits students earned through Advanced Placement courses, dual enrollment, International Baccalaureate and other related programs.
That section was also removed in the new version set to be presented to the Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday morning.
Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship program has paved the way over the years for thousands of high school students to go to college.
Students earn either 75% or 100% of tuition and fees at any Florida state university or college, based entirely on their performance in high school. So any change to the program generates controversy.