The future may be a little less bright for minority students seeking to qualify for Bright Futures merit scholarships to pay for their tuition and fees at state colleges and universities.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill (SB 190) into law that will raise qualifying test scores for high school students graduating in the spring of 2021 and beyond.
Students seeking the highest Bright Futures awards, which pay full tuition and fees at state universities and colleges, would have to score a 1330 on the SAT administered by the College Board, up from the current 1290. Bright Futures scholarships are funded from Florida Lottery proceeds.
Students seeking the lower-tier Bright Futures award that covers 75 percent of tuition and fees would need SAT scores higher than 1200 to qualify. They currently can qualify with 1170 on the SAT, as long as they meet other requirements involving their grade-point averages and community service work.
Studies show that attempts to raise the test scores for the Bright Futures can disproportionally hurt minority students – who may come from lower-income families with fewer resources and face more challenges than their white counterparts.
Here are more details from a Florida Phoenix report on the legislation earlier this year.
When the new standards take effect in 2021, legislative analysts project about 7,000 students will not qualify for the merit scholarships. And 6,200 students who would have qualified for the top Bright Futures award will be shifted to the lower tier Bright Futures scholarships.