College Student Protest at Florida Capitol

Bus loads of students from south Florida spent eight hours traveling to make their voices heard in Tallahassee.

"I maintained a 3.4 GPA all throughout high school because I knew scholarships would pay for your schooling if you did the grades."

About 600 students from all over marched from Florida State, down College Avenue in Tallahassee to the state capitol.

Many students say that for them, the bright futures scholarship. Is the difference between college or the streets.

"You are not going to promise to give someone food and then take it away, you know that is basically what they have done. They have fed us our educations and now they are saying they are going to starve us from them both."

Inside, students who met with state lawmakers say they got mixed responses.

"They were concerned about elementary, high school, and middle school education more than the college education."

Only about eight percent of the scholarships, which are available to anyone who ears a "B" or better in high school, go to African Americans. Some lawmakers who want change say that favors white females who don't need the money.

"So it's almost like an extra bonus, some call it their BMW money, it is my understanding.

"Students who would lose bright futures in a needs best test, say the damage it would do to them, is immeasurable."

"I wouldn't be the leader I am today without it."

A decision is still months away. But bright futures serves 106,000 students, giving them perhaps the largest voice of any group that's facing cuts.

The governor proposes a freeze on bright future scholarships at their current level, but raising university tuition. If he prevails, the net impact will be students paying more for their education.

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Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

  • In the 1997-1998 school year, an estimated 107,000 Florida public and private high school graduates received standard diplomas. Twenty-nine percent of those students were eligible to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • In the 1998-1999 school year, an estimated 111,000 Florida public and private high school graduates received standard diplomas. Twenty-nine percent of those students were eligible to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • In the 1999-2000 school year, an estimated 115,000 Florida public and private high school graduates received standard diplomas. One third of those students were eligible to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • In the 2000-2001 school year, an estimated 125,000 Florida public and private high school graduates received standard diplomas. Thirty-two percent of those students were eligible to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • In the 2001-2002 school year, an estimated 128,000 Florida public and private high school graduates received standard diplomas. Thirty-two percent of those students were eligible to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Over 70,000 students (new freshmen plus prior recipients) received a Bright Futures Scholarship for the 1999-2000 academic school year. Of the total, 69% used the scholarship at a state university, 11% at a private university, and 20% at a community college or private 2-year institution. Less than 1% used Bright Futures scholarship money to attend a private or public vocational school. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Over 92,000 students (new freshmen plus prior recipients) received a Bright Futures Scholarship for the 2000-2001 academic school year. Of the total, 70% used the scholarship at a state university, 10% at a private university, and 20% at a community college or private 2-year institution. Less than 1% used Bright Futures scholarship money to attend a private or public vocational school. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Over 98,000 students (new freshmen plus prior recipients) received a Bright Futures Scholarship for the 2001-2002 academic school year. Of the total, 71% used the scholarship at a state university, 11% at a private university, and 18% at a community college or private 2-year institution. Less than .5% used Bright Futures scholarship money to attend a private or public vocational school. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship disbursements for the 1999-2000 academic year were just over $131.5 million. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship disbursements for the 2000-2001 academic school year were over $164 million. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship disbursements for the 2001-2002 academic school year were over $174 million. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Of the 23,700 students receiving Bright Futures Scholarship funding for the first time in the 1997-98 academic year, 70% met the renewal requirement to continue receiving funding in 1998-99. (Source: Postsecondary Education Planning Commission)
  • Of the 30,200 students receiving FAS and FMS Bright Futures Scholarship funding for the first time in the 2000-2001 academic year, 75% met the renewal requirement to continue receiving funding in 2001-2002. (Source: Florida Department of Education)
  • Of the 30,216 students receiving FAS and FMS Bright Futures Scholarship funding for the first time in the 2001-2002 academic year, 75% met the renewal requirement to continue receiving funding in 2002-2003. (Source: Florida Department of Education)

    Source: http://www.firn.edu/doe/brfuture/ (Florida Department of Education Web site) contributed to this report.


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