Florida is spending more than $200 million this year on Bright Futures Scholarships for eligible high school graduates. The amount has been increasing each year, and now for the second year in a row, state lawmakers say limits need to be put in place.
A Bright Futures Scholarship can make the difference between college or going to work for many high school graduates. Sophomore, Lanisha Philpot, said, “if I wouldn't have gotten Bright Futures then I wouldn't be here."
For others, Bright Future's will determine if the students stay close to home.
With a majority of students receiving bright futures awards, colleges can't raise tuition without putting a bigger hole in the state budget, so this year state budget writers say something has got to change.
Rep. Bev Kilmer, house education chairman, said, "we cannot allow it to consume our entire education budget from the lotteries and that seems to be what is happening. It's consuming more and more of that budget."
No plan for change is carved in stone. State democrats are committed to blocking anything that will make it harder to get into college.
In many ways the state is a victim of it's own success. Students try harder in high school because of the promise of bright futures, but after this year, some bright futures may be just a little dimmer.
Bright Futures is one of the most popular programs in all of state government, but critics say a lot of that scholarship money goes to middle and upper income families who really don't need it to send their kids to college.