Big changes coming for Florida's Bright Futures scholarships

A new bill signed by the governor will now allow the state to change the mark students need to hit each year to earn a prized in-state Bright Futures scholarship.

A new bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis will now allow the state of Florida to change the mark students need to hit each year to earn a prized Bright Futures scholarship.

Data showed from 2011 through 2018, fewer Florida students were already qualifying for the scholarship that gives thousands of university students full or partial rides.

The new requirements have the potential to shut more students out if SAT scores don't begin to rise.

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The author of the bill, state Senator Kelli Stragel, R-22nd District spoke to Channel 9 about the changes.

"We did have way more students who were eligible for Bright Futures," said Stargel. "Over what our estimates were."

Data obtained by Channel 9 seemingly contradicts Stargel's claims with Department of Education numbers indicating that the number of students eligible for the scholarship has been falling.

During the 2010-2011 school year, 65,253 students qualified. Since then, only an average of 46,200 students were eligible each year.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure that our high-achieving students have a robust scholarship to keep them in the state of Florida.," said Stargel.

Officials said they'll be keeping a close eye to make sure there's no disproportionate impact to lower income students.

Eligibility won't be changing for ACT testing, so students who don't want to deal with the changes can elect to take that test.