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Bright Futures Not So Bright

March 16th, 2010 by flanews

College tuition will go up next year, but the Bright Futures Scholarship program will probably not cover the increase. As Whitney Ray tells us, lawmakers are considering drastic changes to Bright Futures in an effort to increase overall funding for colleges.

Future Bright Futures students may have to graduate sooner, pay more out of pocket and get fewer credit hours covered by the popular scholarship program. Tuesday State Senators voted for drastic changes to Bright Futures.

The Senate budget reduces the time period a student has to use the scholarship from seven to four years. It would also only allow Bright Futures to be used on required courses.

We want to stop the abuses where students are using it for a longer period of time, we want to shorten that for only amount of courses they need, said Constantine.

FSU Senior Evan Powell says the changes would hurt students like him. Evan is a double major and studies abroad.

So I back basically had to do five years, said Evan.

The Senate plan would also raise the qualification standards, and keep people who lose their scholarship from reapplying. State Senator Dan Gelber says now is not the time to close the book on students.

One thing you do not do in a recession is deny higher education opportunities to young people, especially young people who are trying to really just get into the workforce or get a better job, said Gelber.

The changes to Bright Futures would take place over the next eight years. Once in place they are expected to save the state 150 million dollars a year. The changes still have to be agreed on by the entire Senate; then the House and the Governor have to sign off on the deal.

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