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Baxley drops plan to deny Bright Futures scholarships for students in less profitable fields

Sen. Dennis Baxley says he wants students to have a well-rounded education but also a viable career plan. Image: Florida Channel via video
Sen. Dennis Baxley says he wants students to have a well-rounded education but also a viable career plan. Image: Florida Channel via video

State Sen. Dennis Baxley has amended his education bill and isn't trying to deny many Florida liberal arts students their Bright Futures scholarships anymore.

But he is trying to get rid of a promise to fund 100 percent of tuition and fees for top high school grads and 75 percent for others in the merit-based program.

The Ocala Republican has received a lot of feedback on SB 86.

So now, instead of denying hard-earned scholarships, it creates a list showing students the economic viability of different college programs.

"If you're graduating from college and you're un-hirable, that's not a very bright future," he said Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.

Democrats say parents are counting on the state's promise to pay 100 or 75 percent.

Baxley says his bill does not cut funding but the promise is a false one that future Legislatures could change.

"This is a wakeup call, that the government is not your final answer," he said. "The economy is your final answer as to whether those revenues are there."

Last school year, 112,000 students received Bright Futures scholarships, which are funded by the Florida Lottery.

 

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.