Bright Futures bill loses controversial aid limit for students in degrees that won’t ‘lead directly to employment’

Local News

TAMPA (WFLA) – The state senator behind a bill to change the Bright Futures scholarship program, has removed some of the most controversial parts of it.

The bill would have established a list of college programs that are not likely to result in employment and reduce funding for scholarship recipients who pursue those degrees.

The bill was originally filed by State Senator Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala.

Baxley has since rewritten the bill — which will no longer penalize students for selecting a major on a list of not approved majors. Instead, students simply need to note that they received information about career prospects to qualify.

“I believe we should encourage all students to pursue their passions, but the fact remain that higher education comes at a significant cost to both students and taxpayers and there needs to be at least some element of career planning involved,” Baxley said.

Critics of the bill including State Sen. Janet Cruz of Tampa said the bill effectively has the government picking winners and losers.

“Who are we, honestly, to take someone’s choice in a career path and force them into a career based on what we will reimburse the tuition,” said State Sen. Janet Cruz. “That’s just unfair and ridiculous.”

An online petition against the proposal received more than 120,000 signatures.

“We have awakened a giant. We have to reconnect the education and economic model and we
have begun that process,” Baxley said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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