Marianna- Chipola College's annual fall festival has been a long time favorite among students. The college's half day event includes relay races, inflatable slides, burgers and music. But this year, the event got a boost from a new partner. The Florida Lottery not only pitched in financially, but also joined in on the fun.
David Bishop, Deputy Secretary of Brand Management for the Florida Lottery explained, "The Florida Lottery is holding ice cream socials all over the state of Florida to congratulate our Bright Future scholarship recipients." He told us Chipola's fall festival was the perfect day to host the social.
The lottery created the Bright Futures scholarship in 1997. Since then, more than 550,000 Florida students have received it. Thanks to the lottery's scholarship, college was made possible for 60 percent of Chipola's students this academic year.
"I have medallion scholarship from bright futures" said Chipola College student, Dalton Hendrix. "It has paid right around 2/3 of my tuition."
Student, Courtney Massengill also received a medallion scholarship. "You get 61 dollars per credit hour" she said.
But qualifying for the scholarship has become tougher than it used to be. Student, Terrence Shanks laughed, "I didn't get a Bright Futures scholarship!"
"You get to take ACT or SAT as many times as you want to" Massengill explained. "When I graduated, you had to score a 24. It has now been raised to a 28 to receive any kind of Bright Futures award, which is really hard because it's a timed test."
Some have wondered if budget cuts have caused the future of Bright Futures to dim a bit. "There have been some cut backs in funding this year" Massengill said.
Of the cuts, Bishop told us, "We're to raise as much money as possible and we're to give that money to the legislature. The legislature and the governor decide how to spend it."
Cuts aside, Chipola students have received a total of $8.2 million in Bright Futures grants over the last 15-years.