Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced the signing of House Bill 461 (HB 461), expanding the state’s Bright Futures college scholarship program through the amendment of educational and service requirements.
Targeting those that work to help support their families, the bill permits students to substitute work hours for community service.
The top-tier program of Bright Futures holds a requirement to complete 100 hours of community service, a 3.5-grade point average, and an ACT or SAT score of 29. Upon fulfillment, students receive a scholarship that covers their entire tuition and expenses at a state public college or university.
DeSantis expressed concern that current requirements may block students of lower socioeconomic backgrounds, citing a statewide decline in high school seniors that are eligible for the scholarship, which he attributed to the volunteering obligation.
“Not every student has the luxury to do volunteer hours. We have students who come from lower-income families that have to work to help support their families,” said DeSantis. “They should not be denied the opportunity to qualify for a scholarship because their socioeconomic background prevents them from being able to do these volunteer hours.”
The bill also increases the level of financial coverage provided by the second-tier Florida Medallion Scholars program. Previously covering 75 percent of tuition at state universities, the signing of HB 461 bumps the coverage to 100 percent, covering all tuition expenses at state universities.
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