Students in Florida could have the chance to get their community college education paid for if a bill sponsored by a South Florida legislator gets passed – but that free schooling would come with one catch.
The new “Sunshine Scholarship” would provide students who graduate high school in the state and come from families earning less than $50,000 a year a chance to get all their tuition and fees paid that were not already covered at any community college or technical school in the state.
The proposed bill passed through committees in both the Florida House and Senate this week. Students who accept the money would have to work in the state for the same amount of time they received state money to pay for school or risk having to repay the scholarship with interest.
“This would be a last dollar scholarship,” State Rep. Shervin Jones, a Democrat from Broward County and one of the sponsors, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “If we’re going to keep educating students, we need to figure out a way to keep them here is this a way to keep them from leaving.”
The bill must go through two more committees in each chamber before it can be voted on and has received support from members of both parties.
A bill analysis says students in Florida are currently paying around $6,400 a year for an associate’s degree and around $2,5000 for career certificates.