Stricter standards set for Bright Futures scholarships - FOX 35 News Orlando

Stricter standards set for Bright Futures scholarships

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Bright Futures Scholarships are what a lot of students depend on to help pay for college. But legislators have made changes that will make getting the scholarship a lot tougher.

Beginning with high school graduates in 2014, the testing requirements are increasing. To get the highest scholarship amount, the Florida Academic Scholar, students must get either a 1290 on the SAT or a 29 on the ACT.

Previously, they needed a 1270 on the SAT and a 28 on the ACT.

Changes are even bigger, for the other scholarship amounts. To be a Florida Medallion Scholar, students must get a 1170 on the SAT or a 26 on the ACT. That's compared to a 980 and 21 before now.

Some educators call the changes "alarming"

Bright Futures Scholarships have been around since 1997, and is funded by the Florida Lottery.

But more students are now going to college, and more have been eligible for Bright Futures, so the money has been running low.

It's likely to cause an enormous impact on students. A USF Provost says this year, about 86 percent of freshmen got Bright Futures Scholarships.

If the new changes had been implemented this year, 47 percent of students would not have been eligible.

That's thousands of students, and that's at just at one state university.

Many worry it'll have a big impact, making college unaffordable to more students, or pushing more students into higher debt.

On average, students receive about $2,000 a year, in Bright Futures Scholarship money.

Right now, financial need is not a consideration in getting the money -- it is only merit-based.

Some educators and some lawmakers have proposed making it finance-based, allowing students who don't have money, to get an education.

Students who already receive Bright Futures won't be affected by the changes. It will first impact students who graduate from high school in 2014.

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