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University Officials Warn More Financial Aid Needed To Offset Losses In Bright Futures Scholarships

Florida’s public universities say they need an increase in financial aid to support a growing number of students who are being locked out of the state’s Bright Future’s scholarship program.

Florida officials have increased academic performance requirements for the award in recent years, a move that has largely impacted minority students. Dean Colson, who sits on the board overseeing Florida’s public universities, says he got a letter from Florida International University saying 60 percent of incoming freshman didn’t receive scholarships but would have last year.

“This is going to impact our graduation rates, retention rates, and debt loads going forward. So I don’t think there’s anything more important for us to do In November than to try and figure this out," Colson says.

He warns  if the issue isn’t addressed, it could hurt the entire system’s quest to climb higher in national rankings and graduate more students in science and tech fields. Critics of the Bright Future’s scholarship program say the award should also take into account the economic factors of a student, and not focus solely on academics.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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