The law gives students who may not have been able to meet the standards for a scholarship the opportunity to obtain Bright Futures scholarships.
“Florida students should not miss out on the opportunity to receive a Bright Futures scholarship as they have to work to help their families make ends meet,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “After-school jobs teach our students valuable life lessons, as do community service hours. I am happy to sign this bill into law and will continue to ensure that higher education remains affordable in Florida.
“When our administration took office, we made a commitment to invest in and prioritize our state’s education and continue to open the doors of success to students of all backgrounds,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “The signing of House Bill 461 is another testament to our administration’s continued commitment to putting students and families first. Florida is not only the free state, but it is also the education state.
“Bright Futures has provided a path to success for nearly one million students,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “With today’s changes to the Bright Futures eligibility criteria, no student will be forced to choose between supporting their family and completing the volunteer hours needed to win a scholarship. I am proud to join Governor DeSantis today as we expand access to post-secondary education for all students.
“I am very grateful for the Governor’s support for HB 461,” said Senator Travis Hutson. “Children across Florida should have every opportunity to graduate and go to college and this bill expands those opportunities. Some kids don’t have the luxury of volunteering and instead have to support their families. This bill allows them to support their parents while pursuing their dreams of higher education.
The bill changes the eligibility criteria for the Bright Futures scholarship program to give students the option of using paid work hours in order to be eligible for the scholarship.
Paid hours of work must meet volunteer hour standards and be supported by appropriate documentation.
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program was launched in 1997 to help students with the expenses of pursuing post-secondary education. It is primarily sponsored by the Florida Lottery.
Over 120,000 Florida students have been awarded Bright Futures scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year.