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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Freshman Florida House member, still a college student, files bills on tuition, scholarships

Times file photo



Following through on a campaign pledge, newly elected Florida Rep. Amber Mariano filed bills Wednesday aimed at making a state university education a bit more affordable for Florida residents.

Mariano, a Pasco County Republican who attends the University of Central Florida, submitted HB 153 to increase the number of credit hours an in-state student can take before facing a 100 percent tuition surcharge. The state limits credits a student may complete before losing in-state tuition.

"Quite often, an 18-year-old student will change his or her major after freshmen year without knowing that senior year will cost twice as much, a cost that is unaffordable for too many college students," Mariano explained in a released statement. "This bill gives students more time to learn and explore."

HB 155, meanwhile, would allow students to use their Bright Futures scholarships to cover summer school tuition costs. Students are required to take summer courses, but to this point have not been able to use Bright Futures to pay for the mandate.

Gov. Rick Scott has said he supports using the scholarship toward summer tuition.

"We are giving students options, and my hope is that these options will keep Florida's brightest students here," Mariano said in her release.

The bills do not have Senate companions.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 3:39pm]


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