College students in Florida might soon be facing new requirements and smaller scholarship amounts if the legislature in Tallahassee can’t figure out how to balance their budget goals with the reality of declining tax revenues and a rapidly shrinking economy.
While the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship has provided generous financial assistance for academically qualified students for many years, the amount being spent on this program is growing as quickly as the cost of tuition – and that means its growing a lot faster than the stagnant or deflating economy. While its been expected for many years that the current scholarship rates are unsustainable, the time is now here that something needs to be done in balancing the budget and politicians in Florida just love to cut anything remotely attached to education! Despite previous minor cuts to the program, it looks like some more significant ones are headed down the political pipeline…
The Tampa Bay Times reports some of the biggest changes being proposed:
- SAT score requirements would rise by 80 points – giving students all the more reason to practice for their standardized tests
- Students would face stricter requirements to only spend scholarship money on classes that are specifically required for graduation. This means any classes taken outside of the major requirements or any credits above the degree requirement would have to be paid out of pocket.
- Future year’s scholarship funds probably won’t include any more money per student than the current year’s – despite the fact that restrictions and eligibility requirements are getting tougher and in-state tuition is expected to rise by as much as 15% in just the next academic year.
But its not time to start panicking yet, these proposals are just that: ideas being considered by politicians who need to cover up a huge budget deficit in any way that they can. So if you’ve got a strong opinion of this, you should go ahead and contact your representative in Tallahassee and let them know how you feel about the Bright Futures Scholarship.
Are there places other than the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program that they can cut the budget, or is it worth raising taxes in a deflationary economic environment? I can’t say for sure, but its definitely a matter of assigning priorities and making your opinions known to the people who will ultimately make the decisions affecting our college students in the coming decade.