Bright Futures Scholarship Program in limbo amid pandemic

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – College scholarships like Bright Futures are in limbo after the pandemic forced standardized tests to be canceled.

Every high school student knows the importance of taking the SAT and ACT college entry exams. These exams are their tickets into college and help them score scholarship money.

Prior to the pandemic, seniors had two more opportunities to take both tests. The exams were canceled and have now been postponed to the fall, which clashes with the Bright Futures deadline of August 31. This now puts hundreds of thousands of Florida seniors at risk of being able to afford college.

“These seniors have envisioned going off to college and what their freshman year is going to look that, of course that varies from person to person, but now there is a lot of uncertainty,” said Plant High School’s Career and College Counselor, Lauren Moseley.

Moseley says a few Plant High School seniors are currently in this predicament.

Bright Futures is a lottery funded scholarship program that awards high achieving high school seniors with money for college. The program offers four scholarships. To qualify students must have high GPAs, performed community service, have taken rigorous courses, but most importantly, score high on the ACT and SAT. The higher a student’s score, the more money they get.

Students were hoping to utilize the final two test to get as high of a score as they could. Now students and teachers are pushing for Bright Futures to extend their application deadline of and get the opportunity to take two more tests.

“It would be nice for the two test the seniors would have missed if they were afforded two more opportunities,” Moseley said. “Whatever that looks like, whenever that looks like from a logistical standpoint. That would be exactly equivalent. They missed two testing opportunities, they get two testing opportunities.”

The Florida Department of Education’s website has a banner running across the screen saying they are aware of the test cancellations and are working on a solution.

Eight on Your Side reached out the FDOE several times for a comment but they declined to do an interview. Eight on Your Side is still waiting for the FDOE to send a statement.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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