Paid work will count toward Bright Futures Scholarships
Students will now be able to substitute work experience for service hours in pursuit of a Bright Futures Scholarship.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday making the change. The legislation (HB 461) allows students to receive Bright Futures Scholarships who might not otherwise have been able to meet the requirements, DeSantis said in an announcement.
“Florida students should not lose the opportunity to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship because they have to work to help their families make ends meet,” DeSantis said. “After-school jobs teach our students valuable life lessons, much like community service hours do."
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, primarily funded by the Florida Lottery, was established in 1997 to assist students with tuition costs when pursuing a postsecondary degree. It is offered to Florida high school graduates with high academic achievement who enroll in an eligible public or private institution in Florida.
More than 120,000 Florida students received Bright Futures Scholarships during the 2021-2022 school year, and the number could increase with the new eligibility, which takes effect with graduates in the 2022-2023 academic year.
State Rep. Angie Nixon, D- Jacksonville, was a co-sponsor of the bill, which passed the House unanimously and was approved 35-3 in the Senate.
A legislative analysis said the bill has "an indeterminate fiscal impact."