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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House offer keeps same Bright Future standards for next year



Legislators would keep Bright Futures scholarships at the same amount and delay tougher requirements for qualifying under a compromise offer released by the House today.

House higher education chairwoman Marlene O’Toole put the deal on the table as detailed spending negotiations between the two chambers got underway this week.

The House had originally wanted to require higher SAT and ACT scores plus new community service requirements next year. The offer delays that to high school graduates in 2013-2014.

The Senate has proposed reducing Bright Futures by $1,000, something the House offer does not do.

The House offer also sets base tuition at 8 percent for both colleges and universities, with the assumption that the universities will win another 7 percent increase (to meet the 15 percent annual cap) from the Board of Governors.

Certain private college students would come into an extra $803 next year under the compromise. The House deal provides another $4.4 million for 5,462 students at “newly eligible” private colleges to quality for an $803 Florida Resident Access Grant.

Only one college meets that definition: Kaiser University, a formerly for-profit school that gained nonprofit status this year.

Only students at the nonprofit private colleges qualify for the grants. The 35,529 students at other private nonprofit colleges would get a $2,061 award under the deal, a cut from the current year award of $2,425.

The Senate version and the earlier House version had provided smaller awards for the Kaiser students.
"We need to go back and really study this offer," said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, the chairwoman of the Senate's higher education budget committee.


[Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 2:59pm]


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