New and returning Bright Futures college students will be required to fill out a federal financial aid form for the first time to receive the merit based scholarship. The form may be the first step in what could be a major change for Bright Futures.
Bright futures abound, but beginning this fall to receive bright futures new and returning students will have fill out a form: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The provision is the first time the state has collected financial data on Bright Futures. Students fear it could be the first step in requiring not only good grades but financial need as well. Miranda Wilhelm is a student from Daytona Beach. “That’s not fair at all; because you work for your GPA to get the money.”
Gabriel Diaz is a student from Miami. “So Bright Futures really helps people like me who aren’t quite exceedingly rich, but not quite, you know very need based, so I think if Bright Futures turned need based that would be terrible.”
Every year that there has been a Bright Futures scholarship, there has been an attempt to make it needs based. Sponsor Senator Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach says she will fight against any attempts to require a needs analysis for the popular scholarships. “We would like to have the data on how many students actually fall into a need based category and how many are not in that need based category.”
We caught up with parents Glenn and Sherry Fell on the FSU campus. They believe their freshman’s good grades are all that should be required. “ I feel if they worked for it, they deserve it.”
But next spring, after lawmakers are armed with new financial information, the effort to make Bright Futures more need based will almost certainly be fought again.
More than 200,000 Florida students receive the scholarship. The law takes affect July 1st.