Tougher standards proposed for Bright Futures Scholarship

by Miami college counselor Mandee Heller Adler, founder of International College Counselors

Lawmakers are preparing to make the Bright Futures scholarship more difficult to get and keep. This will happen if a proposal made Tuesday in a Florida Senate budget committee wins favor.

The legislation is an effort to close a $3 billion budget hole.

The Bright Futures college scholarship program was originally designed to pay full tuition costs for top-performing university and state college students.

Changes under consideration this year:

Increasing the academic standards to qualify for the scholarships, from a 1270 SAT score to a 1290 by 2013 for the top award and from 970 to 1050 for the secondary award.

Prohibiting students from renewing their Bright Futures scholarships if they lose their eligibility.

Requiring students to use their scholarships within four years, as opposed to the current seven-year limit.

Reducing the number of credits covered by Bright Futures from 110 percent of a program’s requirements to 100 percent.

Maintaining Bright Futures at its current level of $126 per credit hour, essentially making it ‘flat’ award –even though tuition could rise as much as 15%,

Requiring students to fill out a federal student aid form when applying for Bright Futures scholarships. It would give the state access to financial information on Bright Futures students and their families.

According to The Miami Herald, nearly 185,000 students are attending college with help from the scholarship. More than 95 percent of students at University of Florida use Bright Futures, as do the majority of those studying at FSU.

The changes would make the scholarship more competitive and leave less wiggle room for students who want to take extra classes, said state Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach and head of the Senate’s budget committee.

In contrast to the Senate’s budget team’s sweeping overhaul of the Bright Futures program, the head of the House’s budget committee proposed a simpler change: a 6 percent cut in funding for the scholarship. This means up to $450 less for Bright Futures students next year.

The college advisors at International College Counselors have extensive knowledge regarding the Bright Futures Scholarship. Whether you live in Orlando or Miami, college counselors at International Counselors are available to help you. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

International College Counselors

Main office: 954.253.5719

Mandee Heller Adler

[email protected]

Barry Liebowitz

[email protected]

International College Counselors provides expert college counseling on undergraduate and graduate college admissions, financial aid, tuition, essays, and college applications. Mandee Heller Adler, college admissions consultant and Founder of International College Counselors tailors her college counseling and college coaching services to address the goals, needs, and dreams of each student. Our college advising company works with domestic and international students. Let us help you make the best decisions in choosing, getting into, and paying for college.