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Bright Futures

Florida will again consider college financial aid boost

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Republicans in the Florida Senate are moving ahead again with an ambitious proposal to boost financial aid for college students.

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Florida may restore college aid lost during Great Recession

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Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, Florida may finally restore one of its main programs that aids students headed to college. The state Legislature late Monday approved an overhaul of the state’s higher education system that is intended to lift schools in the Sunshine State into the ranks of elite counterparts. A key part of the legislation now headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott would require the state to cover 100 percent of tuition costs for top…

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Florida Senate says yes to more help for college students

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College students in Florida could soon get extra help under an ambitious proposal passed by the Florida Senate. The Florida Senate voted 35-1 Thursday for an overhaul of the state’s higher education system that is a top priority for Senate President Joe Negron. It boosts financial aid and calls for new programs to help universities attract and keep faculty members. The bill (SB 2) would require the state to cover 100 percent of tuition costs for top performing high school…

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Florida universities may push for summer scholarships

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Florida’s state university system may ask legislators to expand the state’s popular Bright Futures scholarship program to cover summer courses. The Board of Governors plans to discuss this week whether to ask the Florida Legislature to set aside nearly $50 million so eligible students can use the scholarship for classes taken during the summer terms. Currently, Bright Futures scholarships can only be used during the fall and spring semesters. Gov. Rick Scott has previously advocated for expanding the program to…

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Bright Futures renewals decline, scholarships could drop 20 percent

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Fewer than two out of every 10 Florida high school graduates qualify for a Bright Futures scholarship that helps pay their tuition and fees at state universities and colleges. New data, being reviewed by the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, shows that the number may be improving, with an initial projection suggesting it could rise from 13.8 percent of graduates in the most recent school year to 17.5 percent in the 2016-17 academic year. At the same time,…

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Rick Scott signs raft of 33 bills into law

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A day after signing nine bills into law on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott gave final approval to 33 bills passed during the 2016 Legislative Session late Thursday morning. The raft of newly enacted legislation includes HB 93 by Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones, which requires Florida law enforcement agencies to “establish policies and procedures regarding the use” of police body cameras. The bill does not require all police to actually use the cameras, but it does appear it could hasten the arrival of police body cameras…

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House, Senate still divided over major budget items

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Florida legislators tried over the weekend to hammer out budget decisions on everything from hospital spending to money for Everglades restoration. But as they slogged through spreadsheets, proviso language and dollar amounts fault lines quickly developed between the House and Senate over everything from member-backed projects, education policy and whether to borrow money to pay for land acquisition and other environmental projects. Some legislators had been hopeful that they could reach a deal on the budget by the end of…

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