Bill would punish Bright Futures students for leaving state - FOX 35 News Orlando

Bill would punish Bright Futures students for leaving state

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A local lawmaker is proposing a bill that would bring major changes to Florida's Bright Futures scholarship program.

The bill could force students to pay back some of that money, only if they took that Florida education and went out of state to find work.  

Studies show 65 percent of Florida college students are considering a move, and some state lawmakers are worried about a "brain drain."

Rep. Jimmie Smith of Lecanto filed the bill. It would require students to stay in Florida after graduation six months for each semester they received Bright Futures money. If they left early, they would have to reimburse the state.

"I worked really hard for this scholarship. I had phenomenal grades," said Lauren Snodgrass, a Bright Futures student who opposes the bill. "If I find a job out of state, at least it's a job. I think they should be encouraging us."

Students say they earned what they get and can't control where they get a job.

"I just think it's unfair; it's stupid," said Catherine Tridas.

The state lottery funds Bright Futures, and it doesn't cover as much as it did previously. Smith's office said they aren't sure how many students go on Bright Futures and then leave the state for work, but they're researching it.

For an average recipient, Bright Futures pays out around $2,000 per year.

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