Governor Scott's Higher Education Veto- Why it is a Good Thing & What it Means for You!

Recently, I wrote about the new changes of Bright Futures and what it means for our Florida students, and now recent articles are coming out stating Governor Rick Scott vetoed this bill. So where does this leave your high school student?

Let's break this down and what this veto means for you.

By vetoing this bill, Governor Scott

If you want the Bright Futures increased monies to be around for years to come, as parents and students- get involved and make sure your voice is heard!!

1) Increased Bright Futures for the top FAS tier to 100% tuition +$300 for books and added summer funding, but only for this year. This provision is already embedded in next year's budget, so this will be available to ALL qualifying students for next year. However, it is currently not permanent. With the veto, new legislation will need to be put through to make this part of the scholarship package available for years to come, which helps families with financial planning. Governor Scott remarked in the articles found and listed below that he would like to see this happen. If you want the Bright Futures increased monies to be around for years to come, as parents and students- get involved and make sure your voice is heard!!

2. Increased Financial Aid Grants, but only for this year- Part of the bill not only increased scholarship money for high achieving students, but also doubled the Financial Aid grant money provided by the state. Students qualify for Financial Aid when they apply for the FAFSA, which opens October 1st for seniors. Currently, over $100 million dollar goes unclaimed every year in Florida alone because qualified students simply don't apply!  The current legislation does include an increase to the state grant program, but similar to the Bright Futures,will need to be introduced as new legislation next year to keep it. Note: I am currently waiting on what this is doing specifically to local colleges and universities for next year, and will let you know as soon as I do!

Other financial aid benefits include, from link

▪ Expanding eligibility for the Benacquisto Scholarship Program to include out-of-state students;

▪ Doubling the state’s share of a state-to-private match that pays for a grant awarded to students who are the first generation in their family to attend a college or university;

▪ Establishing a new scholarship program, sponsored by Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, to benefit farm-workers and their children.

Read these articles for more information:

The Importance of Completing the FAFSA

Free Money: Pell Grants

3) Did not decrease funding for Florida State Colleges or limit what programs they can or cannot offer. This potential decrease in funding was a big reason why Governor Scott said he vetoed this bill. While the bill sought to increase funding for state universities, it drastically decreased funding and program options for state colleges. For many students, this is the only way they can afford a good quality education as the Florida State College System make access easier and offer a variety of programs, including certificates and two and four year degrees. While it would be wonderful to pour money into state universities, at the cost of state colleges it would have significantly set back our local workforce who needs these degree types.  

Recent articles used for this post (still some parts unclear):

Bright Future Expansion Lies with Governor Scott

Governors Veto is Actually Good News for Miami-Dade

Push to Bolster College Aid Vetoed by Governor Scott

So for now there is a scholarship increase for students, and hopefully with added pressure from parents and students across the state, this legislation will be made permanent for our students so they can attain their dreams through the quality post-secondary options here in Florida!