Bright Futures…Changes and what they mean for Florida Residents

FLORIDA RESIDENTS: If you have someone in college or someone starting college this Fall, I have some important information for you. (Actually, this will likely apply to Florida High School students planning to go to college.)

Many of you are likely not political junkies like me, so, you may not be aware of all of the chaos surrounding this year’s Florida budget. I won’t go into the sordid details, other than to talk about how Bright Futures was impacted. It’s still somewhat confusing, but, I will let you know what happened as I understand it.

The original budget, funded the top-tier bright futures to include FULL TUITION at all public schools and a $300 book stipend and many fees. Bright Futures will also pay for summer term. This was quite a step up from before, which maxed out at around $3,000.

That budget was vetoed. But, in the back and forth, the “FULL TUITION” portion was fully funded for 2017-18. What is less clear is whether or not the stipend and fees are also funded. (Stay tuned, I will send an update.) REMEMBER: Private Florida schools also award “Bright Futures”. At this time, I’m not sure of the exact dollar amount – but, it will be around $6,000.

Here is the potential downside. The funding is only for a year. Now, all indications are that this will not be rescinded next year. But, I want you to know it possibly could go back to normal funding. I feel strongly that once the benefit is given, it will be hard to “undue”.

What does that mean for HIGH SCHOOL students? Your focus needs to be on your G.P.A. and SAT/ACT test scores. So, what does that mean? What that means is that it is better to take a slightly less challenging class (HONORS vs AP), if the tougher class could result in a “C”. I think students should take as hard of classes as they can and no harder. IB/AICE are great programs, for some students. G.P.A. gets you merit aid and Bright Futures.

Regarding SAT/ACT scores – – BE PREPARED!! As you know, I offer a comprehensive college planning solution including ACT/SAT/AP test prep It’s fabulous and has worked for many of my students. But, if you don’t want a comprehensive solution, please pay for a test prep class. I recommend “Mr. I, the SAT GUY” in North Florida – All areas have good classes, though. Good classes cost around $500-$600 – but, it’s so worth it! This is a $24,000 scholarship!

Stay tuned…I’ll update as I can.

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