Florida’s top high school graduates are getting a new financial incentive to go to Florida universities.
Tucked away in the state budget is a program aimed at rewarding Florida students designated as National Merit scholars, called the Florida National Merit Scholarship Initiative.
Many merit scholars already qualify for the state’s Bright Futures scholarship program which covers tuition. Now Florida lawmakers are giving them an extra incentive to stay in Florida. A new state-based scholarship could award them up to $15,000 to use for tuition, housing and other expenses, with the chance to renew it each year.
Monday, the state revenue estimating conference led by Chief Economist Amy Baker began crunching numbers for the new program.
The state is looking into the long-term costs of the program. The Legislature gave $2.9 million to fund about 182 merit scholars this year. Economists expect the price of the program to climb as tuition increases and more students become aware of the new scholarship’s existence.