Bright Futures In Danger

Coming into high school, everyone can have different goals. Some can be to get an offer in to play a sport at a higher level, others to make it the best four years possible, go to college and some could be to just make it the four. Yet for some, who want to further education and not pay as much, look for scholarships to help take as much off the grand total as possible. Many of those individuals in Florida, turn to the Bright Futures Scholarship which for many, can make a significant difference in how much their decision really does cost them. Yet some things are looking to change and it is not for the better.

As of right now, Bright Futures and the money that is dispersed to the students who receive the scholarship, have the ability to simply use the money when they go to college to help pay (Of course there are more rules to this, however this is to keep it simple). However, a Florida bill is trying to prioritize the money to certain “desired” fields and even take away the funds for any credits that students earned by Advanced Placement (AP) and other programs like it. This means that one could work really hard for the scholarship, but then not receive the money because the field they chose would not be one of the specified fields, or the difficult classes taken were taken for no purpose. This is so crushing to hear as it would make the amount of effort it takes to earn it for nothing. Asking students about this just made the situation feel more depressing.

When asking Angela Hoyle, a Junior here at PHS, about how she would feel about the effort she put in to get the scholarship and it ending up being for nothing, she said, “Honestly my effort would feel pointless. I would be less motivated to do well if I was not even going to get the scholarship I had worked for.” I feel a lot of other people would resonate with that response, considering the amount of stress that those classes or test prepping ends up amounting to. As of right now, to qualify for the full scholarship, one needs 100 community service hours and at least a 1330 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT with a minimum weighted GPA of a 3.5. There are some other ways to get past the 1330 or 29 such as the AICE program which here at PHS requires you to pass 7 AICE classes with each being of particular categories. These kind of classes and requirements on paper seem relatively doable in the span of 4 years, yet when it comes to doing it, it can be a daunting task. The fact that they would even take away that route of getting the scholarship does not seem to connect all the dots, as it is no easy feat already.

Right now, the bill is currently stalled as students start to learn of what is happening and are giving great resistance for it to pass. If anything, the bill should be stopped and explained as much is left to be known. Including specification of where the money would be allocated instead of scholarships and what fields would be left. Leaving the truth shrouded in mystery and taking away some students ticket to higher education should not be simply allowed. All I can hope for is that the kids who worked hard for it get what they rightfully worked towards.