Bright Futures Delegates Letter

Dear Delegates,

As members of the Governance Team for the School District of Lee County, Florida, we are writing to oppose the proposed changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship program.

Thousands of Lee County students have qualified for the scholarship program; many of them would not be able to attend college without it.

While a recent revision removed the “required degree list,” there is still a provision that would reduce program funding by eliminating the Bright Futures Scholarship guarantee of 75% for tuition and fees for a Medallion Scholar, and 100% of tuition and fees for an Academic Scholar. This bill would strip the funding from the Florida Lottery and put the decision into the hands of legislators without a guarantee of payment. The funding would be tentative, based on yearly State Budget appropriations, thus turning Bright Futures into a political decision that could change every year.

This was tried pre-2018 and left students unable to depend on consistent funding, hurting our state’s most vulnerable students who did not know if dollars for their education would exist from year to year.

Bright Futures is not an entitlement program, it is a merit-based scholarship that students work hard to earn. This bill has the potential to create a “brain-drain” in Florida by driving talented students out of state, where they can find more funding for their education. The last thing Florida needs is to be sending our most accomplished students to learn, grow and contribute elsewhere.

Please oppose SB86 and any changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.