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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

'Tweaks' for Bright Futures ahead?



4264 S014 Ah, Bright Futures. It's that wonderful scholarship that makes attending college in Florida so affordable that parents love it to the degree that it has become perhaps politically untouchable. Florida's third rail, if you will.

But there's that nasty little side effect, that the program artificially depresses tuition well below its actual cost. The upshot, of course, is that the universities don't have what they consider enough money to provide a quality education for all -- especially as state funding falls.

Some Alachua area lawmakers have begun talking about changes. They understand that altering Bright Futures will be a nearly impossible sell, but representing the University of Florida, they're giving it a shot, according to the Gainesville Sun.

"Bright Futures is a wonderful program, but I don't know how much longer we can afford to do that and still have a flagship university," Sen. Steve Oelrich (above left), chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, told the Sun.

He's suggesting that the scholarship be phased out over the next decade.

Rep. Larry Cretul of Ocala (above right), incoming House speaker pro tem, said that at the very least lawmakers might consider increasing eligibility requirements for the scholarship, which some have criticized as too easy to get. "This probably would be a good opportunity to look at how we can tweak it," he told the Sun.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:59am]


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