Many parents want Bright Futures scholarship left alone

'They should keep their hands off of it,' parent says
Classroom desk (file photo)
Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 08:36:12-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Parents across Florida are up in arms about possible changes to the Bright Futures scholarship program. Some parents are saying their kids have been sold a dream of higher education that may never be affordable without it.

"We all got sold a bill that we were going to approve the lottery to fund this program and therefore they need to stick to that," Francesca Alvarez said.

Alvarez wants the Bright Futures scholarship program to stay as it is right now. She said it's helping her two kids Daniel and Tatiana in college at the University of Florida. It'll also help David, who is an incoming freshman.

"It pays for their books. It's paying for all the courses they're taking, and that was a factor why they stayed in Florida," she said.

Recently, Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, submitted a proposal called SB 86. It initially looked at potentially limiting the scholarship program based on a student's major. However, the bill has since been rewritten.

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WPTV contacted the senator's office for comment and received a statement, saying, in part:

"We should encourage all students to pursue their passions, but the fact remains that higher education comes at a significant cost to both students and taxpayers and there needs to be at least some element of career planning involved."

The latest version of the bill could still leave it up to lawmakers each year on just how much money the scholarship program receives.

"This doesn't come out of the general fund. It comes from the lottery," John Miller said. "They should keep their hands off of it."

Miller's son Jack graduates this year and is heading to the University of Central Florida. He said this is a promise to the students of the state who do well in school.

"This would be very difficult to plan for education and the finances for an education five, six, seven years out," he said.

Alvarez believes not only does the scholarship help kids get an education, but it also helps the state keep its best and brightest.

"A lot of kids that would have gone to Duke or Harvard or a lot of these other Ivy League schools are staying in-state upping the quality," she said.

The school district is encouraging parents to reach out to state lawmakers and let them know they do not want to see changes to the Bright Futures program.