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An increase in the Bright Futures scholarships

On+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+17%2C+during+tutoring+at+Forest+City+Elementary%2C+junior+Emma+Murphy+helps+students+A%E2%80%99kai+Wallace+and+Jaiden+Stokes+with+their+reading+packet.+Emma+spent+over+an+hour+helping+the+students+at+after+school+tutoring.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, during tutoring at Forest City Elementary, junior Emma Murphy helps students A’kai Wallace and Jaiden Stokes with their reading packet. Emma spent over an hour helping the students at after school tutoring.

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, during tutoring at Forest City Elementary, junior Emma Murphy helps students A’kai Wallace and Jaiden Stokes with their reading packet. Emma spent over an hour helping the students at after school tutoring.

Photo provided by: Miryam Elshaer

Photo provided by: Miryam Elshaer

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, during tutoring at Forest City Elementary, junior Emma Murphy helps students A’kai Wallace and Jaiden Stokes with their reading packet. Emma spent over an hour helping the students at after school tutoring.

Miryam Elshaer, Multimedia Editor

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For the 2017-2018 school year, Florida Bright Futures has increased their tuition coverage due to the higher education bill, SB 374, put into action by Governor Rick Scott. This bill increases funding towards Bright Futures scholarships, along with expanding and creating new college aid programs.

In 1997 the Florida Legislature created The Florida Bright Futures scholarship in order to assist students in pursuing higher levels of education and encourage them to remain in state for college. The scholarship is broken into four levels which offer varying amounts of tuition coverage: Florida Academic Scholars (FAS), Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS), Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GVS), and Gold Seal Cape Scholars (GCS). In order to qualify for the different levels of the Bright Futures Scholarship, students must meet the minimum three qualifications set for their desired level. In addition to the requirements, some levels of the scholarship require students to maintain certain aspects of their scholarly career throughout college if they wish to maintain tuition coverage.

“I qualify for the Florida Academic Scholars Scholarship meaning that my SAT score is above a 1290, my weighted GPA is above a 3.5 and I hold over 100 hours of community service,” senior Angelina Burke said. “I am more likely to attend an in-state school because Bright Futures would cover my tuition allowing me to graduate with little to no debt.”

The Bright Futures Scholarship originally offered full tuition coverage to those who qualified for the FAS, but as the price of college classes increased, the funding towards Bright Futures did not. The shift in prices caused the maximum available coverage within the scholarship to drop about 50%. This affected many Lake Brantley alumni as those who received Bright Futures tuition coverage before the bill was passed will not be seeing an increase in their tuition coverage while the graduates of 2016-2017 class will. Nonetheless, this bill is only set to be in use for a “trial” year, with a final decision to determine if it will remain in place. This means that the graduating class of 2017-2018 may not be applicable for the new coverage available through the bill.

“I think the option of the Florida Academic Scholars covering full tuition is going to open more doors for students,” guidance counselor Laura Baker said. “We discuss this [the opportunities Bright Futures offers] when we do our class visits.”

In addition, there has been controversy over the signing of the bill. Some argue that the qualifications required to receive full tuition coverage are unfair to those without adequate access to academic resources within and outside of school. Despite that argument, the new Bright Futures legislation allows for four year universities across Florida to receive more money, while colleges will receive less. This was done in hopes of improving university staff and increasing competition among students seeking admission to higher quality schools. The original purpose of Bright Futures was to sharpen this competitive nature and use it to ensure that Florida’s best students would remain in state for their studies.

“Changing the qualifications is definitely something to consider, especially because if someone lacks the resources to help them reach the highest qualifications, then they could definitely use the new boost to the scholarship,” Lake Brantley alumni Mary Mcintosh said. “I support the change, I think that it benefits many students. I would like it if the law was not repealed, and the prospect of it being repealed does stress me out a little bit. However, it still does not alter my college plans.”

 

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About the Contributor
Miryam Elshaer, Editor in Chief

Miryam Elshaer is a senior and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Brantley Banner. She has felt at home ever since discovering the journalism program at Lake Brantley during her freshman year. She enjoys to read, loves anything that has to do with history and English. Miryam is the president of National English Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and Quill and Scroll Honor Society. She is also the historian of Mu Alpha Theta and a member of the school’s photography program. In her free time, she volunteers at Forest City Elementary School, and loves working and inspiring the younger students. Miryam is a vegetarian and enjoys going to concerts, art festivals and journaling in her free time.

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