Bright Futures increasing difficulty of qualifying for scholarships

Florida students will soon have new criteria to meet before receiving the Bright Futures scholarship.

State leaders chose to base the SAT score required to qualify on higher national averages that change annually.

Prepscholar estimates that the SAT minimum for Florida Academic Scholars, the most competitive Bright Futures scholarship for "A students," could be raised from 1290 to 1330.

The SAT minimum for Florida Merit Scholars, geared towards “B students” for the sake of the example, could be raised from 1170 to 1200.

These numbers are an educated guess to help paint a picture of what could happen; while the projected changes don’t look like much, it’s still getting parents riled up.

“That’s, to me, telling you right there, you want to change it based on how many people are qualified,” Michelle Johnson said.

“I just think if we have students who are reaching those benchmarks who have attained these accomplishments, that they should get the same opportunity that the others kids did.”

The bill’s author, state Senator Kelli Stragel, has said indeed that too many students were eligible for the scholarship and that the program needs to stay on budget.

However, a Channel 9 investigation found that from 2011 to 2018, the number of those eligible actually dropped by nearly 23,000 students, contradicting Stragel's claims.

The change will go into effect in 2021.

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